News Daily Spot: A study reveals how red algae accelerate the melting of the Arctic

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A study reveals how red algae accelerate the melting of the Arctic

A new study reveals that the red algae Chlamydomonas nivalis located in the Arctic have a direct influence on the melting of glaciers.

The research, published in the journal "Nature" emphasizes that although the role of this type of pigmented algae thaw was already known, had "underestimated" so far its real impact.

According to the researchers, from the University of Leeds and the German Centre for Geological Research (GFZ), these red algae darken the surface of snow and ice and directly affect the "albedo effect", which measures levels of light reflectance land on Earth.

As detailed in the publication, the increase in this type of algae makes the icy surface present 13% less albedo in the melt period, that is, home to a greater amount of heat and melting accelerates.

"Our results show that the natural effect of albedo is important and must be taken into account in the next climate models", he explained in a statement the study's lead author, Stefanie Lutz.

The article detailed that this phenomenon of pigmentation of algae occurs only in the warmer months of the year, when they match the appearance of fine ice sheets melted and heat from sunlight is more powerful, because in times of coldest, these algae "hibernate".

For the study, researchers analyzed through a high throughput screening biodiversity of algae and other microbial communities in samples from 21 glaciers in the Arctic, from Greenland to northern Sweden, to Iceland.

Thanks to this wide range of work, researchers claim to have found the same type of red algae throughout the Arctic region.

"This is the first time researchers study the long term effect of microorganisms in the melting of snow and ice in the Arctic," praised Daniel Remias, a biologist at the University Austrian Wels.

In his view, the interdisciplinary approach is key project, since "combines a microbiological and genetic analysis geochemical and mineralogical properties of red algae, with albedo levels in their habitat."

The group of scientists continue their research in Greenland this summer, which date to thaw highs are expected by the rising temperatures.

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