If we're not supposed to eat the yellow snow, then we're definitely not supposed to eat the pink snow, even though it looks like cotton candy. It's actually blooming algae and it's bad news for the environment.
Chlamydomonas nivalis ”” say that five times fast ”” is the cause of all the trouble. It's a type of blooming algae sometimes known as blood snow or watermelon snow and it's normally green until it bathes in ultraviolet rays and basically gets a sunburn.
No, the change in albedo means that the snow melts at an alarmingly faster rate than normal. A team of scientists from Britain and Germany conducted a study that concluded the pink snow melts 13 percent faster than regular snow.
Because the blooms are dark, the snow reflects less light. When less light is reflected, it's absorbed instead. So when that light is absorbed, the ice gets hotter. And when ice gets hotter, ice melts. Who would have guessed?
Stephanie Lutz, postdoc at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, and her team are working on the Greenland ice sheet to discover the lasting effects of the pink snow. "Based on personal observations, a conservative estimate would be 50 percent of the snow surface on a glacier [will be covered by the algae] at the end of a melt season," said Lutz. "But this can potentially be even higher."
Why do you have to play us like that, pink snow? Pretty but destructive, this pink snow's doing a lot more than giving us a craving for shaved ice. As the glaciers melt, more algae thrive in the water, perpetuating this vicious cycle.