A week ago, flying over East Antarctica, NASA’s Terra satellite detected swirls of green amidst the ice off the Princess Astrid Coast.
[…] The green waters off Antarctica this February might have been phytoplankton blooming in the water, adhering to the edges of the ice, or growing on top of the ice altogether. Perhaps there could have even been a different explanation that did not include life at all. But until someone could sample the water and ice directly, it would be difficult to know for sure.
So that’s just what Lieser’s colleagues did. “We were in a fortunate position to be able to redirect the Australian vessel Aurora Australis to take a few surface water samples of the bloom when she was on return mission from Mawson Station to Hobart, Tasmania,” he noted. “Reports from the ship as it was sampling and traversing through the bloom indicate that the region was covered by small pancakes of sea ice with algae visible on the sides and undersides, apparently floating in a sea of greenish brown.” The samples were due back in Hobart by late March. (via EarthObservatory)