Home > environment, WORLD NEWS > GLOBAL SHOCK: The Antarctic is turning LUMINOUS GREEN

GLOBAL SHOCK: The Antarctic is turning LUMINOUS GREEN

A MASSIVE expanse of BRIGHT GREEN ice 20 times the size of New York has been photographed by a NASA satellite on a routine fly-over of an isolated corner of Antarctica.

Green ice in the Antarctic

Paul Baldwin

The luminous-looking green ice already covers about 650 square miles (about 1000 square kilometres) – and it is growing by the day.

NASA scientists who spotted the bizarre green ice among the thousands of routine survey pictures taken from 700 miles up US satellite Landsat 8 by are baffled.

As ever aliens have been blamed by online conspiracy theory forums.

But of course NASA boffins have offered more credible alternatives.

The best theory climate scientists have come up with is that the freakish green-tinged ice is probably due to a massive bloom of phytoplankton.

NASA observers are unclear if the mass of phytoplankton  and algae is trapped in the soft slushy forming sea ice or whether it is living below existing sea ice.

Green ice

Photosynthetic plankton called phytoplankton and algae grow all around Antarctica’s summer from October to February

It is autumn in Antarctica but algae blooms can have been spotted at this time of year.

Marine glaciologist Jan Lieser of Australia’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center reported to NASA’s Earth Observatory that in 2012 a team had recorded an enormous bloom in late February and early March.

That mass of algae was 124 miles (200 kilometers) long and 62 miles (100 km) wide – even bigger than the current bloom.

And experts predict the new bloom will get bigger before the brutal Arctic winter takes hold.

Scientists on an expedition to observe the green swirls found that the bloom was not free-floating algae, but green sea ice, or sea ice with algae growing on it.

The pictures were snapped by the space agency’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) on their Landsat 8 satellite.

Landsat 8, which was launched in February 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, is part of the US Geological Survey which maps the world’s landmasses.

It orbits the globe at an altitude of 438 miles (705 km) and takes more than 700 pictures a day.

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