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Is Antarctic green due to climate change? English studies


Ice and snow algae confirmed in Anchorage Island, Antarctica. Provided by Cambridge University in England (photographed in 2018, provided on May 20, 2020). (c) AFP PHOTO / Dr Matt Davey-University of Cambridge / SAMS

Enlarged photo


[AFP = Current affairs]A part of the Antarctic Peninsula (Antarctic Peninsula), which extends from Antarctica into a long and narrow area, “green snow” due to an outbreak of algae spreads as the earth’s temperature rises. Was announced on the 20th.

Although it is often thought that plants do not grow at all, Antarctica actually grows several algae. These algae grow on thawing snow and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Research Office (BAS) used satellite imagery and ground-based observations to determine the area of ​​green algae currently distributed on the most barren continents in the world. ..

As a result, more than 1600 independent areas where a large amount of green algae breed on snow were identified in the entire Antarctic Peninsula. The total surface area was 1.9 square kilometers.

Matt Davey of the Faculty of Plant Science, University of Cambridge, told AFP, “This number is relatively small on a global scale, but in Antarctic countries where there are very few plants, this level of plant resources is extremely important. Has a meaning. “

“Many people think that Antarctic is only snow and penguins, but there are plenty of plants around the perimeter.”

According to the research team’s estimates, the algae in the Antarctic Peninsula are currently absorbing as much CO2 as an average of approximately 875,000 automobile trips.

Furthermore, the research team revealed that most of the algae breeding area is located within 5 km from the penguin colony. Penguin dung is said to be an excellent fertilizer.

▽ Polar regions are warming at a much faster pace than the rest of the world. In low-lying coastal areas of Antarctica, the research team speculates that the algae will disappear soon after a snow-free summer.

However, the disappearance of coastal algae is likely to be offset by the predominance of large-scale algae breeding areas as temperatures rise and the snow softens in higher areas. “Increase in carbon sequestration in the aggregate,” explains the research team.

[Translation edit]AFPBB News

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