This algae, scientifically known as Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, once appeared in the so-called Dark Zone of Greenland – which is also witnessing the melting ice phenomenon caused by climate change. Normally, ice and snow reflect more than 80% of the sun’s radiation into the atmosphere, but when algae appear, they darken the ice causing it to absorb heat and melt faster.
It is like a mutual interaction. When algae appear, the ice melts faster. Melting ice provides water and air for algae to grow. The thinner the snow, the more algae appear and cover a pink layer on a white background of snow at an altitude of 2,618 m.
“Any factor that makes the snow darker will melt the ice because this phenomenon increases the rate of radiation absorption,” said Di Mauro. The researchers also noted that the presence of climbers and ski visitors can also impact the algae, making them more visible.
Previously, smoke from forest fires in Australia turned the country’s snow-capped peaks and glaciers a strange brown color.
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