As parts of Antarctica experience warmer weather, the snow is turning green. The colour is caused by blooms of algae which grow on the slushy snow, nourished by the nutrients in penguin droppings.
Scientists discovered the blooms on satellite images and confirmed their presence by visits to the affected areas in the Antarctic Peninsula. The development of these new ecosystems is being driven by climate change and now researchers are watching carefully to see whether the blooms themselves will have an impact. They will remove some carbon dioxide from the air, but they may increase snow melt by darkening the snow causing it to absorb more heat from the sun.