What would you call it if a glacier that looked completely white suddenly started showing red spots or if the entire glacier turns red? Are there rivers of blood flowing there? Has there been any genocide or massacre? No… it is scientifically called ‘Glacier Blood’ in common language. Scientists are surprised to see this red bloody color. But there is a mysterious creature behind the red color of the white snow glacier. Due to which this entire glacier turned red. Now scientists have started a new project to test the blood of glacier
Scientists have started the AlpAlga Project to investigate the glaciers deposited on the Alps mountains of France. In this, the blood coming out of glaciers deposited from a height of 3,280 feet to 9,842 feet will be tested. In the glaciers that have been examined so far, the reason for the bleeding of the glacier has come to the fore, it is astonishing. Because the organism that caused this usually lives in the oceans, rivers and lakes, but how is the creature living in the depths of the water suddenly capturing the cold glaciers?
Eric Marshal is also the director of the Laboratory of Cellular and Plant Physiology in Grenoble, France. Eric said that people only know that algae are found in oceans, rivers and lakes. But few people know that microalgae have reached the glaciers by flying with the particles of ice and air. Some have even reached very high places. When our team reached the glacier of the French Alps, the view there was completely red. These microalgae were growing in the water present between the small particles of ice. The effect of climate change and pollution was visible on it.
The algae that redden the glaciers on the French Alps mountains are technically green algae. Whose phylum is Chlorophyta. But they contain certain types of chlorophyll which complete the process of photosynthesis. Another chemical found in this algae along with chlorophyll are carotenoids which produce orange or red pigments. Like carrots. Carotenoids are generally antioxidants that protect algae from bright light. Also, keep them safe from ultraviolet radiation at high altitude.
Eric Marshall told that when the algae bloom, that is, the algae spreads rapidly, that too on a large scale, then the snow around it starts looking orange or red. This is because of the carotenoids. There seems to be a bloody war on the entire glacier. Eric told that he had last seen these glaciers in the spring of 2019. Then there the glacier was looking red in color for several kilometers away.
Eric told that scientists have found out how glaciers turn red, but the biggest issue is that scientists do not know much about the biology of this algae. It is also not known how it is flourishing on the mountain ecosystem. It is not known what effect this will have on climate change. Generally, the reason for the growth of algae in the ocean is due to pollution filled with nutrients. But this nourishment reaches the mountains through rain and wind. Because of which it will flourish. Apart from this, the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can also be the reason for its growth.
According to a study published in Nature Magazine in the year 2016, red colored ice reflects less light, due to which the ice starts melting faster. That is, it can shorten the life of the Elgi glacier. But it is still unclear whether the occurrence of reddening of glaciers has increased due to the increase of sea algae, environmental change and pollution. Due to which other organisms living in that ecosystem are being threatened.
Eric said that at this time we can only say that these algae can be a sign of environmental change. Because people living around these glaciers and mountains are now saying every year that the glacier has turned bloody again. But we cannot measure its number. According to a recent report published on June 7 in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science, scientists on the French Alps studied glaciers between an altitude of 4000 to 9645 feet. In which he discovered such microalgae species that are turning the ice red.
This report was created by Eric and other members of his team. They obtained DNA from dead algae and broken cells from these glaciers. After this, when I inquired, I got information that these algae have been present on these mountains for many years or they keep coming and going in season. Eric says that if someone studies DNA, then this algae has been flourishing on this mountain or on these glaciers for many years. Earlier the quantity was less but now the quantity and area has also increased.
Eric told that an algae was found at an altitude of 6560 feet, which is called Sanguina. Due to this the snow turns red at or above this height. But at different altitudes, different species of algae are gathering which turn the snow red. For example, Desmococcus and Symbiochloris do not go above the height of 4920 feet.
Eric’s team will again go to the mountains of the Alps to study such red glaciers again next month. So that they can again understand the process of growth of algae more accurately. Try to identify the components of white and red snow. Erik and his team will have to spend a few days in bad weather on these glaciers to study the details of why this red ice is produced.
Eric said that people often talk about melting ice in the Arctic or polar regions because their melting increases the sea level. But there is little talk of these glaciers. They give water to the rivers. If it starts melting soon then people will have problem of drinking water. Even if they become infected with a dangerous algae, there is a danger to humans. Therefore, it is necessary to make efforts to prevent such changes.