In order to work out why snow is white we need to look at light energy. The amount of light absorbed in certain materials is significant to how we see colors. If light photons can travel all the way through a material, the source becomes clear or translucent in appearance. This is the reason we see ice as being in a clear form, but if ice is clear, then why is snow white? Essentially, snow is frozen water, after all, so in theory we would expect snow to be clear, and not white. The color of anything has a lot to do with the reflection of light.
However, snow is made up of many ice crystals, this means that light photons do not pass directly through the material. The particles in the material change the path of the light passing through. Atoms in the ice’s molecular structure are close to the height of the light wavelengths, this means that the light photons interact with the structure of the ice crystals. The light source exits the ice in a different direction to which it entered. The crystals bounce the light all around and this is what makes the snow look white. The color we see in the different light frequencies is white, therefore we see snow as being white in color.
Although, we see snow as mainly being white it can be different colors according to the environment. In some parts of Europe red snow can be seen, this is due to dust particles from the Sahara desert. The air becomes filled with these dust particles and turns the snow a shade of red. Other substances can taint the snow different colors, such as, algae, it can turn snow green, purple, yellow, orange, and red. People who have witnessed the red color from algae have said it looks and tastes like watermelon.
Now we know why snow is white, we can continue enjoying the wonderful sight of it. Participating in sports involving snow, or just walking through the glorious white stuff can make us all feel a sense of joy and happiness. Snow reminds us of Christmas time, of happy and joyful times of our youth. We also enjoy snow as we become adults, with snowmobiles, skiing, sledding, and other activities we make the most of the white stuff. Snow can also be hazardous, so caution should be used while doing any activities in the snow.