The Himalaya Mountains Are Mysteriously Linked To Toxic Algal Blooms

New research seems to indicate that a reduction in the amount of ice and snow on the Himalaya Mountains, the highest on Earth, could lead to the food chain systems of faraway coastal waters to be dangerously affected.

Similar to how one turns over the soil in their garden, cold winds come down from the mountains of Himalaya and fertilize the Arabian sea. This process works by cooling down the surface of the sea, thus making the dense waters sink all the way to the bottom. In its place, fresh currents that are full of nutrients rise to the surface.

The problem is that winter monsoons are quickly becoming warm and moist, due to global warming. This leaves fewer nutrients and oxygen for marine habitats and even helps microbes that survive in barren, oxygen-free places prosper instead. This problem has gotten to such proportions, that algal cultures of considerable size have now become visible from outer space.

The Himalaya Mountains and Toxic Algal Blooms

This species that is enabled by climate change is called Noctiluca scintillans, also bearing the name “sea sparkle,” due to its bioluminescent effects. Noctiluca scintillans is a marine dinoflagellate with a length of one millimeter that can survive and even prosper without sunlight or oxygen. Before the commencement of the 21st century, this species was not present, as it is today, near Oman, Yemen, and even Somalia.

Nowadays, Noctiluca causes enormous blooms with a strong impact on industries and the ecosystems regularly. Some changes have occurred very fast, a lot faster than what could be considered a natural phenomenon, and scientists believe that this all leads back to climate change.

According to Joaquim I. Goes, affiliated with Columbia University, who has studied the growth of this species for over 18 years, this is likely to be one of the biggest changes we have noticed due to global warming on the Himalaya mountains.

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