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?

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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

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