In latest sign of climate change, Antarctica snow turns blood-red

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine have posted several pictures of the red and pink streaks slashing across the edges of glaciers and puddlings on the frosty plains.

'Blood-snow'

Scientists at Ukraine's Vernadsky Research Base in Antarctica recently found the pearl white and smooth sheet of snow turning into blood-red colour giving the look of a horror-movie-style massacre.

However, the real cause behind the "blood-snow" is far less dramatic but, it still has dire implications.

(Image courtesy: Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine)

(Photograph:Others)

latest sign of climate change

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine have posted several pictures of the red and pink streaks slashing across the edges of glaciers and puddlings on the frosty plains.

The researchers are calling it "raspberry snow", the latest sign of climate change.

(Image courtesy: National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine)

(Photograph:Others)

'Chlamydomonas nivalis'

The reason behind all this is an astonishingly red-pigmented, microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis, which thrives in freezing water.

When summer hits the polar regions, the algae blooms staining the snow and ice around it in blood-resembling red.

(Image courtesy: National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine)

(Photograph:Others)

Thousands of years old phenomena

The phenomenon was first noticed thousands of years ago by Aristotle and is often referred to as "watermelon snow", thanks to its subtly sweet scent and colour.

What makes the blooming algae red is the same stuff that gives carrots and watermelons their reddish tint, carotenoids which is a class of plant chemicals found in plants, bacteria and algae.

(Image courtesy: National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine)

(Photograph:Others)

The vicious loop!

It is a stunning display of a natural phenomenon but it also creates a nasty loop which causes the ice to melt faster.

Simply put the pace at which ice melt is directly linked to the speed at which algae blooms on the ice continent.  

In short, the hotter it gets the bloodier it becomes.

Algae bloomings thrive in warm weather, meaning we can probably expect to see more events like this as the climate changes.

(Image courtesy: National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine)

(Photograph:Reuters)