Owing to the rise in global warming, the Greenland is experiencing the expansion of algae. The algae are slowly melting the ice sheet of the island and making it turn green. The single celled microscopic algae growing in the ice sheet of Greenland are dark in colour which means that they absorb a greater amount of sunlight, and thus warm up the surface quicker than the white ice.
The head of British research project Black and Bloom, Martyn Tranter stated that the larger amount of algae results in a darker surface which makes the ice melt faster. The rise has been happening more quickly than anticipated.
For centuries, around 85% of the huge island in the North Atlantic Ocean is covered up by a giant sheet of ice. Even though over 100 years ago, the algae were first found in the Greenland, the study has just started for examining the impact of algae on the melting of ice.
The extra warming caused due to the increase in algae has resulted in the rapid melting of the sheet of ice. This is a major problem since if all the amount of ice melts from Greenland, then the sea levels are expected to rise as much as even 20 feet in the worldwide spots which can inundate or submerge the coastal cities.
According to NASA, ice and snow can only throw back or reflect 90% solar radiation. Black and Bloom group, the first group to study such phenomena, states that the dark algae can reflect about 35% to 1% in the darkest of spots. This scientific process is known as Albedo and is like feeling of how white clothes are cooler on the hotter days while black clothes absorb more heat.
Albedo is basically used for describing how much the solar radiation is reflected. The white snow reflects back the sunlight hitting it and causes a cooling effect of it. With the growth of algae, there is a reduction in Albedo effect, which causes the warming effect on the ice.
Black and Bloom’s group stated that the climatic change can only accelerate the process and provide more melting water for the microorganisms like algae to live and produce on.
Since 1995, more than 4000 gigaton of ice has melted from Greenland owing to the warming up of temperature aka global warming. This makes up for more than one quadrillion gallons of water. Since twenty years, it has been examined that the unusual summer in Greenland has caused the ice to melt in huge amounts.