Polar explorers at the Antarctic research base. Vernadsky (Ukraine) report a vivid phenomenon - over a vast area, snow turned purple overnight. The picture resembles scenes from horror films, but the reason for the phenomenon is prosaic - it's just a large-scale algae bloom. Nevertheless, what is happening is alarming experts who see this as a bad sign for Antarctica.
Chlamydomonas nivalis is a green, unicellular algae that is widespread in the polar regions because it can easily tolerate cold. In spring, as soon as the first melt water appears, algae bloom very quickly. During this short period, they are still green, have flagella for movement and absorb a lot of sunlight.
At the next, adult stage, the algae lose their flagella, settle in place, and grow a keratin shell-armor - protection from ultraviolet radiation. It is red in color, which creates a characteristic visual effect, in addition, the algae now absorb much more heat. More and more melt water forms around them and a riot of life begins, where worms and other small organisms feast on algae.
The faster the algae grow and redden, the lower the light reflectance becomes. In addition, they melt the snow with the heat from the Sun. It is estimated that such activity of algae creates a 15% contribution to the melting of the Antarctic ice, and their activity will only increase with each season. So the crimson snows around the Ukrainian station are indeed a bad sign. The life of polar explorers is further complicated by the fact that Chlamydomonas nivalis is toxic to humans.