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The pastel-hued phenomenon was spotted at the Presena glacier in northern Italy, and while the sight isn’t unusual in spring and summer, it becomes a red flag if it appears more often. Snow takes on a “watermelon” color from algae that blooms in polar regions under the presence of water, warmer temperatures, and exposed sunlight, and the growing frequency of this happening indicates that the snow is absorbing more heat than usual.

This is concerning as snow is designed to regulate temperature. The whiter it is, the more capable it is at deflecting the sun’s glowing rays back into space.

Pink snow won’t be able to modulate heat as effectively, sparking a vicious cycle where the snow melts faster, the algae becomes more abundant—causing even more snow to turn pink and bounce less sunlight into space—and the planet ultimately gets hotter.

Source: Mikelle Leow