Observers noticed the odd color in the Presena glacier at the far southern Italian region of Sondrio.
Biagio di Mauro, a scientist in Italy’s National Research Council, stated the color is probably due to Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, a sort of algae commonly found in Greenland’s so-called Dark Zone, in which the ice is also melting.
“The algae aren’t dangerous,” Di Mauro said. “it is a natural phenomenon which occurs during the summer and spring periods at the middle latitudes but at the Poles.”
Ice normally reflects greater than 80% of the sun’s radiation into the air, however as algae seem, it may darken the ice so it absorbs the heat and melts quickly.
The more quickly the snow melts, the longer algae seems, including reddish hues into the snowy 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.
“These algae want water. So obviously, if temperatures climb and there is more melting about the glaciers, more water available, they will flourish,” stated Harry Zekollari, a glaciologist at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
“With more sunlight consumed, you’ll have more meltwater and more algae. With this, you could have a positive feedback loop that may result in a good deal of reduction of those glaciers, which are already in a state.”
In cases like this, the pink color looked at Passo Gavia in an elevation of 2,618 meters.
“Here we are attempting to measure the impact of different phenomena, aside from the individual one, about the overheating of the planet,” Di Mauro said.
“You can find far more natural phenomena, like algae, however, we could also link melting together with the existence of individuals in these altitudes, together with all the ski lifts and hiking”