Pink "Watermelon" Snow Is a Thing

Here's what it means when you see it.

Yes, pink "watermelon" snow is a thing — but don't let the delicious-sounding name tempt you (even if people claim it actually smells faintly of the fruit, as both and report).

No, it's not a naturally occurring snow cone. Mother Nature is not trying out the . So what exactly is watermelon snow?

According to the , watermelon snow occurs when the sun heats up and snow starts to melt. The freezing temperature and presence of liquid is apparently the ideal environment for a certain type of algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, to bloom, turning the snow the saturated shade which attracts more sun and accelerates the melting process.

Pink snow, also known as snow algae, red snow, or even the ominous-sounding blood snow, has been spotted all over the world (including the Rockies, the Himalayas, the Arctic, and Antarctica), most recently in melted form at .

The pretty pigmentation isn't the only reason to pay attention to the phenomenon, though. It's actually in terms of speeding up the process of melting glaciers.

In a study published in June 2016 on , scientists say pink snow plays a "crucial role in decreasing albedo," the amount of light or radiation reflected by a surface — meaning it could result in higher melt rates. Because of this, the team concluded that the effect should be considered in climate models.

No matter how cool pink snow may look, we'll stick to dreaming of the white stuff instead.

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