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Pink is the shade of climate change with mountains and lakes changing colour across the globe

Pink is the shade of climate change with mountains and lakes changing colour across the globe
Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, India turns pinkTwitter/NandanDega
  • Instances of algae turning pink as temperatures rise across the globe have become more prominent in 2020.
  • From waters of Mumbai to the Alps in Italy, pink algae are accelerating the effects of climate change.
  • Scientists believe that harmful algal blooms are only set to intensify in the 2000’s.
The first victims of climate change are aquatic ecosystems. Mountains and lakes across the globe are already turning pink as the world gets warmer.

Since the 1980s, harmful algal blooms have only become more common. Scientists predict that progressive warming of the world’s climate, acidification, and deoxygenation is only set to intensify this century.

The problem with algae is that it sets off a cycle making the effects of climate change even worse.

Here’s a look at how some of nature’s wonders have already started to turn pink this year:

Pink ice in the Italian Alps

Pink ice in the Italian Alps
Business Insider/Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

In July, scientists noticed that some of the glacial ice in the Alps was turning pink. They believe it is caused by algae that accelerate the effects of climate change.

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

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India’s Lonar Lake goes from green to pink

India’s Lonar Lake goes from green to pink
NASA/EarthObservatory/OLI on Landsat 8

In June, residents of Maharashtra started to notice Lonar Lake start to shift from its usual green to a pink hue. The reason for the change in colour is still benign investigated however scientists believe the most likely reason is that the microscopic life that lives within its waters is thriving in the high salt concentration.

Whats makes the Lonar Lake — also known as the Lonar Crater — special is that it was created when an asteroid struck Earth in its early years. It is the only “fresh” impact structure in basalt on Earth. Minerals found in the 1.2 kilometre wide lake’s soil have been determined to very similar to the minerals found in moon rocks brought back during the Apollo Program.

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​Antarctica with ‘watermelon snow’

​Antarctica with ‘watermelon snow’
Facebook/Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine

Antarctica didn’t just turn pink, but red, the ice around Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base got covered in ‘watermelon snow’ in March.

On the world’s most isolated continent, algae lie dormant in the snow and ice for most of the year. However, in 2020, Antarctica was witness to its hottest day on record when temperatures hit 18.3 degrees Celcius followed by a nine-day heatwave that melted 20% of the snow on one of its islands — Eagle Island.

Just like in the Italian Alps, the red snow reflects less sunlight causing the ice to melt faster. As a consequence, it produces even more bright algae.

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Water turns pink in Mumbai

Water turns pink in Mumbai
Instagram/Savenavimumbaienvironment via Pratik543

During the nationwide lockdown in India, some of the water in its financial capital — Mumbai — was spotted turning pink. Scientists are still working on pinning down the exact cause but they believe the most likely culprit is the algal bloom. The salinity of the seawater combined with rising temperatures made for an ideal situation where algae could thrive.

The effects of pink algae as global temperatures increase aren’t only restricted to less sunlight being reflected back making the planet even hotter. It also blocks sunlight from reaching other aquatic organisms, brings down the oxygen levels in the water and could also be responsible for secreting toxins into the water.

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