Scientists explain the appearance of red snow in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia

For several years the inhabitants of Pomorie were amazed at the red snow on the roofs of their houses. Scientists of the center for collective use of scientific equipment of the SAFU “Arctic” examined about 15 theories about the causes of this phenomenon and are now preparing a scientific article on the results of the study.

Snow unusual coloring locals recorded in 2013, 2014, at the beginning and end of 2017. It was reported from Verkhnetoemsky, Kholmogorsky, Pinezhsky districts. However, local residents have never seen how red snow falls, they watched it already lying on the roofs. Scientists have noticed that red snow covers mainly old roofs of apartment houses on which the big snow cap accumulates.

At first, the researchers had about 15 versions of what caused the unusual coloring. To promote “reddening” could be lichens and mountain ash, but more often the appearance of red snow is associated with single-celled algae of the species “Chlamydomonas snowy” (Chlamydomonas nivalis). This plant can develop on the surface of water, snow and ice, bloom after the darkest and coldest period of winter and, as the weather brightens, turns pink or blushes.

Analyzing the samples in the center of collective use of the scientific equipment of the SAFU, the scientists determined that in the case of the Arkhangelsk region, the snow blushes precisely because of the algae. Under a layer of snow on the roofs of heated houses, good conditions for the plant are created. While only the species is known, it is possible to accurately identify the alga that attracted the attention of the inhabitants of Pomerania, based on the results of additional analysis, which is now under implementation.

“Red snow for people looks unusual, but this is a natural phenomenon, not man-made and not man-made,” – said Alexander Kozhevnikov, Ph.D., head of the scientific projects section of the Center for Collective Use of Scientific Equipment “Arktika”. He also noted that substances that cause red color are not dangerous.

It is likely that “Chlamydomonada snow” has always lived in the Arkhangelsk region, but before people did not emphasize its signs, so active discussion of the topic began only in recent years.

“This story is pleasant because people began to pay attention to the ecological state of the place in which they live. They became interested in the environment and became more vigilant, “- added Alexander Kozhevnikov.