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Biologists know now that the red hue is the result of a chemical reaction within the algae Chlamydomonas nivalis and other cold-loving species. These algae are normally green, but as they start to suck up ultraviolet rays, they turn red.
What may look like an Arctic accident involving gallons of pink lemonade is, in fact, reddish algae blooming in the snow. The unusual phenomenon is also found in high altitudes, and sometimes called watermelon snow or blood snow.
Despite the Willy Wonka tinge, the snow hides a sobering reality: According to a new study, the algae cause Arctic melts, which are already happening at an unprecedented pace because of climate change,to worsen. -- source Washington Post