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Snow Loss Fueling Harmful Algal Blooms
Continued loss of snow over the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau region is fuelling the rapid expansion of destructive algal blooms in the Arabian Sea, new research suggests.

Normally, cold winter monsoon winds blowing from the Himalayas cool the surface of the oceans. Colder waters sink and are replaced with nutrient-rich waters from below, and during this time phytoplankton – and thus also fish – thrive.

But with the shrinking of glaciers and snow cover in the Himalayas, the monsoon winds blowing offshore from land are warmer and moister, resulting in diminished convective mixing and decreased fertilisation of the upper layers.

Phytoplankton then struggle but Noctiluca doesn’t, because it doesn't rely only on sunlight and nutrients. It can survive by eating other microorganisms. It also accumulates ammonia, which helps it survive but deters larger grazers.

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