I've often come across phrases such as "hot embers" and "cold ice" (I'd be hard pressed to cite sources...I don't remember any). I found the adjectives "hot" and "cold" used with "embers" and "ice" respectively redundant, because...well... that (burning) embers are "hot" and that ice is "cold" is painfully obvious.
But since I see such usage fairly often (once again, I can't cite any sources), coupled with the existence of an establish term "paleo-achaeology", my initial belief that these were products of the airheaded-ness that usually grips users of the English language (joke) was reduced to mere suspicion.
Which is why I ask:
Is this a figure of speech? If so what is it called? Moreover, what purpose does it serve? (sarcasm? emphasis?)