Glacier Biology

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Biotic albedo reduction
What are Cryoconite holes ?
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Kohshima lab.

(C) Copyright 1997-2000, Kohshima-lab.

Albedo reduction of glaier surface by biological activity

The snow algae play an important role in melting process of the glaciers; they accelerate glacier melting and affect glacial mass balance by forming dark-colored materials (cryoconite) on glaciers and reducing albedo.

Yala glacier in Himalayas.

Surface of the glacier does not seem white but black. Dark colored materials covered the surface reduces albedo of the surface. Melting of the surface is accelarated by the dirt three times more than no dirt surface. The dirt consist of mainly biological production, such as algae and humic substance.

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