Nature and climate News | Scientific ecology

Scientists attribute the flowering of dangerous algae in the Arabian Sea to the melting of glaciers

Scientists attribute the flowering of dangerous algae in the Arabian Sea to the melting of glaciers

The flowering of these algae, which completely attacked the Arabian Sea, is visible even from space. Scientists have already called luminous algae a unique stable organism, which over the past twenty years has grown tirelessly, spreading at an alarming rate. In the Arabian Sea, these plants form unthinkable patterns, filling in all the free space so that it can be seen even from space.

This unusual organism is called Noctiluca. Its size is not more than one millimetre. But he has an extraordinary ability to survive, prosper, and displace other plant life-forms from his territory, which traditionally support the food network of the Arabian Sea.

Algae themselves are not food for fish or other marine life, so they increase in volume annually, destroying the basis of the marine food chain and jeopardizing local fishing. Scientists were looking for a clue - what could be associated with such an abundant growth of these algae. It turns out that their active reproduction is directly affected by the glaciers of the Himalayan-Tibetan plateau.

Columbia University experts confirm their findings with laboratory experiments and data from NASA satellites. They connect the activity of algae in the Arabian Sea with melting glaciers, the waters of which flow under the influence of weakened winter monsoons into the sea. Usually, winter monsoons from the Himalayas traditionally cool the surface of the oceans.

Cooled surface water sinks to the depths, releasing warmer layers of water. They contain nutrients that are sufficient for algae for active growth and reproduction. But the reduction of glaciers and snow cover in the Himalayas was weakened by monsoon winds.

They became warmer and wetter, and this led to a decrease in the number of nutrients in the upper layers of water, which is necessary for plankton. But unlike him, like other marine plants, Noctiluca feels great. Its activity is not affected by a lack of sunlight or heat, nutrients or cold monsoons. She survives in any conditions.

Scientists have found that she has a double way to get energy, and it gives a huge advantage for the prosperity and destruction of the classic food chain of the Arabian Sea. The first bloom of these algae was noticed in the 90s of the last century.