Pink ice in Italy's Alps sparks algae probe

Pink ice in Italy's Alps sparks algae probe

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


PASSO GAVIA,Italy (AFP)—Scientists inItalyare investigating the mysterious appearance of pink glacial ice in the Alps, caused by algae that accelerate the effects of climate change.

There is debate about where the algae come from, but Biagio Di Mauro ofItaly's National Research Council said the pink snow observed on parts of the Presena glacier is likely caused by the same plant found in Greenland.

"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," said Di Mauro, who had previously studied the algae at the Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland.

The plant, known asAncylonema nordenskioeldii, is present in Greenland's so-called Dark Zone, where the ice is also melting.

Normally ice reflects more than 80 per cent of the sun's radiation back into the atmosphere, but as algae appear, they darken the ice so that it absorbs the heat and melts more quickly.

More algae appear as the ice melts more rapidly, giving them vital water and air and adding red hues to the white ice at the Passo Gavia, altitude 2,618 metres (8,590 feet).

"Everything that darkens the snow causes it to melt because it accelerates the absorption of radiation," said Di Mauro.

"We are trying to quantify the effect of other phenomena besides the human one on the overheating of the Earth," said Di Mauro, noting that the presence of hikers and ski lifts could also have an impact on the algae.

Tourists at the glacier lament the impact of climate change.

"Overheating of the planet is a problem, the last thing we needed was algae," said tourist Marta Durante.

"Unfortunately we are doing irreversible damage. We are already at the point of no return, I think."

Elisa Pongini from Florence said she felt the Earth was "giving us back everything we have done to it".

"2020 is a special year: terrible things have happened," she said. "In my opinion, atmospheric phenomena are worsening. Climate change is increasingly evident."


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT