An aerial picture clicked above the Presena glacier near Pellizzano on July 3 shows pink ice on the Italian Alps. Scientists attribute the phenomenon to the presence of algae colony belonging to the Ancylonema nordenskioeldii species. By Kumar Shree

As pink glacial ice appeared mysteriously on the Italian Alps, scientists begin investigating the algae of Ancylonema nordenskioeldii species. The algae are notoriously known for accelerating the effects of climate change, which can already be seen in the area. The ice is melting in this area, which is also known as Greenland’s Dark Zone.

 

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While scientists debate the origin and introduction of algae in the region, but Biagio Di Mauro of Italy’s National Research Council is confident that the same plant found in Greenland has caused this presence.

The Hindu quoted a statement from Di Mauro, who has also studied the same algae in the past at the Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland. He said, “The alga is not dangerous, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the spring and summer periods in the middle latitudes but also at the Poles.”

 

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When in its normal state, i.e. without the presence of algae, the ice reflects more than 80 per cent of the sun’s radiation back. With the appearance of the algae, it loses the ability to reflect and starts absorbing the heat as algae darken its colour. This, in return, accelerates the melting process and adds to the woes.

As the ice melts, it exposes the algae to water and air, which helps them multiply, and melt more ice in return. It’s an endless cycle, which must be broken to keep the ice from melting and thus, stopping the acceleration process of climate change. It is the same algae that lend a pink hue to the white ice at the Passo Gavia, which sits at an altitude of 2,618 metres (8,590 feet).

Related: Greenland Is Drowning As 12.5 Billion Tons Of Ice Melts In A Single Day