Scientists at a research centre in the Antarctica recently released images of snow around their research base to turn red in colour and the images have since gone viral.
The strange phenomenon is said to be caused due to microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis that thrives in sub-zero temperatures, the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine, which is a part of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine explained in a now-viral Facebook post.
Besides the green pigment – chlorophyll which all algae contains – their cells also contains a red carotene layer, which mixes with the green colour to cause snow to look like “raspberry jam”. This layer is also said to protect the algae from ultraviolet radiation.
However, the ministry also said that the spread of the algae, which is also dubbed as “snow blossom” contributes to climate change due to its darker colour. Due to the red colour, the snow reflects less sunlight, which causes it to melt faster.
The ministry said that the phenomena can be observed in the Arctic, the Alps and other high mountain ecosystems.
Here’s how people reacted to the images of “watermelon snow”:
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