The number of Australia’s vibrant pink lakes may be growing due to climate change, much to the joy of Instagram enthusiasts worldwide.
Countless sightseers go to the south of Western Australia each year to see the bubblegum-pink lakes. Their unusual colors come from a combination of water-dwelling bacteria and algae. As a result of global warming, some lakes may dry up entirely while others will begin to change color to pink.
You may find these bodies of water throughout South and Western Australia; some examples include Lake MacDonnell, Lake Hillier, and Hutt Lagoon. The salt-tolerant algae that inhabit the lakes give them their signature pink hues and contribute to the waters’ exceptionally saline nature. While Dunaliella salina, a kind of green algae, is believed to be the primary cause of the lake’s discoloration, other bacteria and algae species have also been detected in the water.
Waters containing up to 35% NaCl (salt) may support Dunaliella salina. Sodium chloride is a negligible fraction of salt water (3%). The reddish-orange color of carrots is caused by beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment that algae may generate under particular light, temperature, and salinity; this pigment might cause the pinkish tint to the lake water.
The southwestern area of Australia may anticipate greater temperatures and less rainfall due to climate change. As a result, the lakes’ water composition is likely to change due to these changes, with some lakes becoming more saline and accommodating to the algae that change their color.
On the other hand, the salt-loving algae may find it less conducive to their growth if a lake’s water becomes less salty due to increasing rainfall caused by climate change.
Researchers are worried about more than just the lakes’ aesthetics—the potential ripple effects on the food chain, particularly for migrating birds—if the lakes’ salinity levels were to shift.
Climate change may not have as devastating an impact as we worry since certain species can adapt, according to scientists, but we don’t yet know the real consequences on the lakes and their surrounding ecosystem.