Global Warming

Parts of Antarctica are turning green

Parts of the Antarctic Peninsula are changing colour as “green snow” caused by blooming algae is spreading with increases in global temperatures, researchers reported Wednesday.

Although often considered devoid of plant life, Antarctica is home to several types of algae, which grow on slushy snow and suck carbon dioxide from the air. They also found that the majority of algae blooms were within five kilometres of a penguin colony, as the birds’ excrement is an excellent fertiliser.

The polar regions are warming far faster than other parts of the planet and the team predicted that low-lying coastal areas of Antarctica would soon be free from algae as they experience snow-free summers. But that loss will probably be offset by a preponderance of large algae blooms as temperatures rise and snow at higher altitudes softens.

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