Reuters reports that, if we didn’t have enough proof that world is turning inside out, the so-called White Continent is now warm enough that its snow is turning green:
Now, using data collected over two years by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite, together with on-the-ground observations, a research team from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have created the first map of the algae blooms on the Antarctic Peninsula coast.
“We now have a baseline of where the algal blooms are and we can see whether the blooms will start increasing as the models suggest in the future,” Matt Davey of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences told Reuters.
Mosses and lichens are considered the dominant photosynthetic organisms in Antarctica – but the new mapping found 1,679 separate algal blooms that are a key component in the continent’s ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“The algal blooms in Antarctica are equivalent to about the amount of carbon that’s being omitted by 875,000 average UK petrol car journeys,” Davey said. “That seems a lot but in terms of the global carbon budget, it’s insignificant.”