The Snow In Antarctica Has Turned From Pure White To A Bloody Red

by Gizel Menezes
The Snow In Antarctica Has Turned From Pure White To A Bloody Red

Bloody red snow! Yes, you heard that right. Over the past few weeks, scientists from Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base in Antarctica have observed red-colored snow around their research station! And before your mind churns up some fantasy horror story, let me stop you right there. 

Image Courtesy- Live Science

Why Has The Snow In Antarctica Turned Blood Red?

The red-coloured tinge is caused due to an algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis that thrives in the snow. These algae, although typically green, in the presence of sunlight, produce carotenoids, which give the snow its reddish hue. Carotenoids are basically pigments present in the chloroplasts of plants that give the reddish-yellowish-orangish colour to fruits and vegetables.

These algae are also capable of surviving in extreme freezing temperatures, during which they lie dormant. However, during the summers, they absorb maximum sunlight, which along with the melted snow, causes them to bloom rapidly.

Also read: Inspirational Story Of Avani Awasthee: Youngest Indian To Travel To Antarctica

Is The Blood Red Snow in Antarctica Any Good For Us?

This bloody phenomenon is rather ominous for us due to its dire consequences. The red-coloured tinge changes the albedo of the snow, i.e. the sun reflecting capacity. The colour red is also known to absorb more sunlight than the colour white. This is why, the phenomenon, although extra-ordinary and sinister at the same time, adds massively to the worry of rapidly melting glaciers in the polar regions.

The snow is also termed as watermelon snow since it is known to give out a slight watermelon scent. And before you get any ideas, the snow is inedible and highly toxic to humans. So, naah, no bloody mary snow for y’all!

Also read: UAE Will Tow Icebergs From Antarctica For Upcoming Project

Antarctica has been experiencing a nine-day heatwave this month and has provisionally recorded its hottest temperature of 18.3 degree Celsius at the Esperanza research station. A phenomenon like this certainly adds to our ever-growing list of problems.