Something strange and ominous is happening in the Italian Alps - the surface of the Presena Glacier has turned a suspicious pink color. Scientists know what it is, but do not understand why it happens here and at this time of year. Even worse, skeptics are convinced that this so-called "watermelon snow" is a new and important sign of an impending climate catastrophe.
"Watermelon snow" is an affectionate Italian idiom, but when there is snow at the Antarctic station. Vernandski became crimson, the press dubbed them "bloody." The same was observed in Alaska and Greenland, and the unicellular algae Chlamydomonas nivalis are the culprits of this phenomenon. During the flowering period, there are so many of them that from afar a mass of algae in a shallow pool of melt water looks like a blood stain.
Scientists are most worried about why conditions have developed in the Italian Alps that ensured massive algal blooms. Usually the scale of this phenomenon was not at all great and everything ended very quickly, but now it is so warm in this region that the ice is melting, and the algae are still blooming, and there is no end in sight to this process. What if now it becomes a new climatic norm, what if glaciers around the world begin to melt together every summer and turn into an alarming red?
Pink, of course, is not black, but it also reflects sunlight worse than the pure whiteness of snow. This means that the surface of the glacier will accumulate more and more heat and melt even faster. Scientists admit that no one in the world has deeply studied the issues of the life of algae on glaciers, and therefore there are now more questions than answers. And this means that we need to expand our knowledge in order to understand what the "bloody snow" promises in the future planet.