Arctic cotton candy-colored snow may be a warning sign

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To some, pink snow appears like a youngster’s fantasy come true. To others, it appears like a harmful new drug. But in actuality, pink snow exists… and it isn’t a good sign. The blush-toned hue is the chemical response of algae that causes Arctic soften. Rosy snow is often seen at excessive altitudes when usually inexperienced algae flip crimson from absorbing ultraviolet rays. However, the reddish snow might additionally be rising the velocity of glacial soften.

The easiest technique to perceive that is to consider carrying a black shirt on a sizzling day. People sometimes attempt not to try this as a result of darker coloured objects take in a larger quantity of incoming gentle than light-colored objects, which are inclined to replicate gentle. Here, it’s like a glacier placing on a crimson shirt, the Washington Post defined.

More in-depth particulars of the phenomenon come from a paper printed on Wednesday within the journal Nature Communications. The examine checked out 40 completely different crimson snow samples from 16 glaciers and snowfields from Greenland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland.

Scientists examined the albedo of crimson snow, which means how a lot gentle is just not absorbed by an object. The presence of crimson algae decreased albedo by 13 p.c.

“Our results point out that the ‘bio-albedo’ effect is important and has to be considered in future climate models,” Stefanie Lutz, one of many examine’s authors, stated in a assertion.

Part of the problem is that the algae may create a constructive suggestions loop, which means algae makes extra algae. When the algae bloom, snow melts. Melting snow then nourishes the algae and extra algae develop.

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