Pink watermelon snow has been spotted near the Ukrainian research station in Antarctica, causing concern. The snow in the area is pink and mysterious and beautiful in the sun. Scientists say this is because the snow contains microbes called polar snow algae, which thrive in cold climates and stay “dormant” at low temperatures. But as the temperature rises, it begins to grow rapidly. It appears red because it contains astaxanthin (a carotenoid), which prevents uv radiation. There are other similar algae that appear black, brown or yellow.
But scientists say the phenomenon may not be as romantic as it seems. Because when snow and ice appear red, it will reduce the reflection of sunlight and reduce the rate of melting. If there is a large area, it will increase the climate warming and threaten the ecosystem.
The phenomenon is not new. As early as the 4th century BC, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle recorded this scene in his short stories of nature. But in recent years, due to global warming, the frequency of this phenomenon is increasing.