Climate Indicators

What is 'snow blood' and how is it linked to climate change?

'Snow blood' accelerates Alpine thaw, say scientists - and it's spreading. Image: Unsplash/Erol Ahmed

Cecile Mantovani

Journalist, Reuters

Denis Balibouse

Photographer, Reuters

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Researcher Eric Marechal holds up a vial of snow blood.
Eric Marechal, researcher at the Cell and Plant Physiology Laboratory at CEA, with a sample of snow blood. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Scientist collecting snow blood in test tube.
The algae was only formally identified and given its Latin name Sanguina nivaloides in 2019. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Scientists taking samples of snow in the Alps.
The scientists say the volumes of algae appear to be growing due to climate change. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Snow having melted off the mountains.
The presence of the algae accelerates snow melt in the Alps. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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