Bright-Red Blood Snow Is Falling From the Sky in Antarctica
A Facebook post of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine and Science shows a research station on an island near the coast of far-eastern Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula covered with "bloody snow".
The bloody scene does not seem to be the result of a seal-hunting that went wrong: it's a surprisingly surprising microscopic red algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis, which bloom in glacier waters during melting ice during the warm summer of Antarctica.
When summer hits the polar regions, algae bloom, and the snow and ice around them are stained in blood-like red, Live Science explains. Aristotle first observed this phenomenon thousands of years ago and is often referred to as "watermelon snow" thanks to the aroma of sweet color and color.
What makes blooming algae red is the same thing that gives carrots and watermelons their reddish color: carotenoids.
It's an impressive display of natural phenomena, but it also creates a disgusting feedback loop that makes thaw faster. Red causes less sunlight to reflect into the snow, making it melt faster, as the Ukrainian team explained in its publication. Accelerated fusion leads to more algae growth, completing the cycle.
It is not the only surreal fair in the world caused by a feedback cycle, as Live Science points out. Algae bloom swallowed seafoam on the coast of a Spanish city in January. Similar algal blooms caused the beaches around the islands to glow in the East China Sea.