A Tiny Bit of Life Spawns in Antarctica; Media Declares Crisis

Life is spawning in a few, tiny locations in Antarctica that recently did not sustain life. As small amounts of surface ice turn to slush in a few locations, small amounts of algae have sprung to life in the icy slush. The cumulative total of algae is less than a square mile. Incredibly (or maybe not), alarmists and their media stooges are declaring a crisis.

CNN’s scaremongering headline announces, “Snow is turning green in Antarctica — and climate change will make it worse.” IFL Science hypes the horror with a headline, “The Climate Crisis Is Turning Antarctic Snow Green.” Many other prominent media outlets published articles with similarly alarmist titles.

A team of British researchers published a study in Nature Communication, indicating that during the Antarctic summer, temporary algae blooms cover a combined 1.9 square kilometers (0.73 square miles) on the Antarctic peninsula. Two-thirds of the algae formed on small low-altitude islands. Most formed in the immediate vicinity, and thriving on the droppings of, penguin colonies flourishing on the Antarctic peninsula. To put the size of the algae blooms in perspective, Antarctica is 14,200,000 square kilometers in size, so the seasonal blooms affect approximately 0.00001% of the continent.

Although sometimes dormant or covered with snow, algae, lichen, and moss have always been present in these areas, particularly where large groups of penguins congregate and huddle, fertilized by the nutrients of their excrement. Indeed, the study shows most or all of the blooms were located either within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of a penguin colony, or where other birds nest, or where seals congregate onshore.

The media uniformly claim that a small bit of life forming from the nutrients in penguin excrement in very small portions of Antarctica is a climate crisis. But is that truly the case?

The fake new media claim this less-than-one-square-mile of temporary algae absorb light and heat, unlike white snow, and therefore will cause substantial additional global warming. IFL Science reports, “White snow reflects around 80 percent of the Sun’s radiation, while green snow only reflects about 45 percent.” But this only tells part of the story.

The algae act as carbon dioxide sinks, meaning they take more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than they release. As the ISL Science article admits, “these blooms, which act as a carbon sink, remove 479 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year—equivalent to the emission of 486 planes traveling between New York and London.” Well, if you believe in a climate crisis, isn’t that good news?

The algae blooms will always be constrained by Antarctica’s long, extremely cold winters. Winter temperatures average −10°C on the Antarctic coast to −60°C at the highest parts of the interior.  Even if the algae expand modestly in the short summer months, the algae will mitigate global warming by taking more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

So how and why is a tiny bit of algae that takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere a “crisis,” ISL Science? And why will this make climate change worse, CNN?

It doesn’t really matter to them, so long as they can add another fictitious “crisis” to The Climate Delusion.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. In addition to directing The Heartland Institute's Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, Burett puts Environment & Climate News together, is the editor of Heartland's Climate Change Weekly email, and the host of the Environment & Climate News Podcast.

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  1. And by the way, it’s not as if there hasn’t been green life in Antarctica before: https://www.livescience.com/60944-ancient-fossil-forest-discovered-in-antarctica.html

    The “climate scientists” (and I use the term advisedly) and their enablers in the media really are fixated in the “If I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen!” view of climate, totally disregarding the comparatively huge climate changes throughout Earth’s geological history and fixating on the minor fluctuations we are currently experiencing.

  2. Also, don’t forget that the only area of Antarctica that is loosing ice is the Western Peninsula. 90% of Antarctica’s ice is either stable or increasing. More interesting, though, the Western Peninsula’s melting appears to be a result of volcanic activity beneath the ice, which is heating up from below.


    • The cimate change scare is of course a hoax but something is logically wrong with the sun ice volcano activity, cos it means that this activity is now elevated compared with the past, why? The coincidence is strange


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