Scientists sound the alarm about pink snow

Scientists are sounding the alarm about the potentially worsening problem of pink snow on glaciers. 

Also known as blood snow, red snow or watermelon snow, the phenomenon gets its hue from algae that can grow in even the most extreme environments. 

While the organisms are green, they can appear to take on a reddish tint due to the sun’s light. 

According to Gizmodo, a new study has found that “a combination of climate change-driven melting on polar ice sheets and increased deposition of airborne particles, including nutrient-loaded agricultural dust, could create more favorable environments for red-snow algae to proliferate in the future, triggering even more melting in a vicious feedback loop.” 

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For the research, the team grew pink snow in Alaska and recorded a four-fold algae growth when nutrients were introduced in addition to an accelerated snow melt. 

A separate study from last year pointed out another likely reason for pink snow’s affect on the surrounding area—darker objects absorb more light and therefore, get warmer.

As such, researchers from both papers have suggested that algae be considered in climate models. 

Pink snow has been found in Colorado and several Nordic countries including Iceland and Norway. 

Scientific American says the best time to spot the blush-colored growth in these areas is during the middle of the summer. 

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