As kid we were always told to avoid and not eat yellow snow, but have you ever heard of pink or “watermelon snow?”.
The Colors of Snow: If you asked anyone what the color of snow is, they would say white. But, did you know pure snow is translucent and has no color. It’s all the colors mixing and reflecting off the snow that gives it the white color that we see. That being said snow can also be the following colors…pink, green, blue, grey, black, yellow, red, orange and brown.
Pink & Green: Let’s start with pink and green snow or also called “watermelon snow.” This snow phenomenon occurs worldwide roughly between 10,000 to 12,000 feet in the alpine and polar regions. Algae is the cause of the weather phenomenon. This alga grows in cold weather. The snow falls as white, but once it lands algae can start to grow. The alga is predominately green and can give the snow a greenish tint, but it also has some red in it. The red color protects the algae from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The red allows the algae to absorb the solar energy and melt the snow. This process supplies the algae with liquid water which it needs to survive. It is the red part of the algae that turns the snow a pick color. So why is it call “watermelon snow?”. The algae also secrete a fruity smell similar to watermelon.
Blue: Snow is made up of frozen water. Frozen water is a light blue color. When there is a lot of snow it can appear to look blue. Snow that is well shades can also look blue.
Red, Orange and Brown: For snow to have these colors its picks up dirt, sand or pollution while falling to the ground. It is these pollutants that change the color of the snow.
Grey & Black: The snow can turn these colors if they fall through a heavy smoke or soot. Normally, there would be a large fire or a highly polluted area near bye. What goes up must come down. The pollutants can hitch a ride back down to the surface on snow.