Pink ice spotted in Alpine glacier fuels concerns over melting

Pablo Tucker
July 7, 2020

Scientists are anxious about a glacier in Italy that is turning pink due to algae that will make the ice melt faster.

There is a debate about what is the origin of the algae, but Biagio Di Mauro , a researcher at the Council Nacoinal of Research of Italy, has said that the snow rose observed in some parts of the glacier Presena is probably caused by a type of algae found previously in Greenland. "It's a natural phenomenon that occurs during the spring and summer periods in the middle latitudes, but also at the Poles".

The phenomenon has been particularly common this year, said Dr Di Mauro, who plans to study it in more detail to work out the concentration of the algae and map the blooms using satellite data. However, with the appearance of the algae, this tends to darken up the ice in such as way it absorbs the heat and quickly melts.

The plant, referred to as Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, is present in Greenland's so-called Dark Zone, where the ice is also melting. But the most bad is not it: reducing the reflectivity of glaciers, algae accelerate global warming, extend this even further, dimming the snow everywhere, make the temperature rise on the planet of the avalanche process.


The more rapidly the ice melts, the more algae appears, adding red hues to the white ice.

Algae at quite low temperatures will generally die, but when the ice becomes very marginally warmer it may cause a thin coating of water which enables it to survive and spread, thus accelerating the melt.

Di Mauro says that anything that darkens the snow leads to its melting, as it accelerates the absorption of radiation.

"Overheating of the planet is a problem, the last thing we needed was algae", mentioned vacationer Marta Durante.


Another tourist, Elisa Pongini from Florence, said that Earth was giving back what humans did to the planet. "2020 is a special year: bad things have happened", she said.

In his opinion, on the distribution of algae to the South could affect climate change.

Some Tourists at the glacier, speaking to AFP, lamented the impact of climate change, as reported by France 24.


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