This Pink Snow Is A Very Bad Sign

The colourful algae is melting the Arctic glaciers.

It might be beautiful to look at, but this pink snow is a lot more concerning than its pretty appearance suggests.

A new study has found that these algae blooms play a crucial role on melting the Arctic glaciers.

The colourful algae reduce the snow’s ability to reflect sunlight, meaning the glaciers absorb more heat and melt at a faster rate.

Over one melting season, researchers say the algal blooms can lead to a 13 percent reduction of albedo (the ability of a surface to reflect sunlight).

[Image: Stefanie Lutz, GFZ]

While the algae might not be having a huge impact at the moment, as the Earth gets warmer, its influence will grow.

"The algae need liquid water in order to bloom," lead study author Steffi Lutz of the University of Leeds told Gizmodo.

"Therefore the melting of snow and ice surfaces controls the abundance of the algae. The more melting, the more algae. With temperatures rising globally, the snow algae phenomenon will likely also increase leading to an even higher bio-albedo effect."

[Image: Stefanie Lutz, GFZ]

Over the next few months, researchers will investigate how these blooms impact the Greenland Ice Sheet which is experiencing record-breaking melting rates.

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