Red snow, what does climate change have to do with it

It appears in the Alps, but not only: its scarlet print and ruby ​​​​shadow kiss some of the highest peaks in the world: it snow bloodalso called watermelon ice [neve anguria, ndr] for its look and feel. Although its appearance creates stunning views, the name really says everything there is to know: its presence does not indicate anything beneficial to the health of the planet.


This type of snow appears in a lot during the summer, but the truth is that for some time now it appears early and slowly disappears. This is also a very indicative and already foreshadowing reasons why researchers are increasingly concerned.

What is blood snow?

Blood snow is a type of red snow whose color is due to the presence of the named algae Chlamydomonas nivalis. It is actually a green alga but contains astaxanthin, a red carotenoid pigment that combines with chlorophyll. When snow is compressed, the pigmentation darkens dramatically and creates areas that are more prone to melting, attracting even more sunlight.

What the researchers worry about is that Chlamydomonas nivalis to a new type, a call Bleed. This type of seaweed absorbs more intense heat It activates a protective process that acts somewhat like a “sunscreen”, insuring itself by ingesting heat in a healthy way for it and the formation of algal blooms that can extend from 20-30 meters and deepen by more than 25-30 cm.

The role of red snow in melting

Why might this development be worrisome? For two reasons. First of all, his role in dissolving: Sanguina makes snow melt faster, at frightening rates. This means that the affected areas are becoming drier, in a very worrying way: the fault of global warming, which activates the process of spreading and protecting this algae and creating all the conditions to make it increasingly resistant.

then why Bleed Yes, you’re right It spreads very quickly at different height levels. Before, in fact, it could only be tracked between 10,000 and 12,000 meters. However, recently the scientist Eric Marechal collected several samples at an altitude of “only” 2500 meters and raised the alarm, stating that it was necessary to find a way (respecting the ecosystem) to stop this process.

Snow volume and snowmelt

The presence of red snow is another warning sign that our planet is at risk of overheating and drought. Several teams of researchers are working to monitor the current volumes of snow found on different peaks of the globe. Currently, these are from The Alps are the most targeted areas From Bleedwith increasingly colonized areas and dry patches increasingly common and alarming.

CEA Director in Grenoble, Alberto Amato, has already stated that Sanguina appears to be increasing in an almost unstoppable manner and that its contact with carbon dioxide at different levels of altitude is destined to have a devastating effect. As anxiety increases, however, studies continue. I hope we haven’t already reached the point of no return.

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