Snow is White?
Why is snow white?
For the same reason clouds and milk are white. Light striking the small ice
crystals in snow both reflects (bounces off the surface) and refracts
(changes direction when it penetrates the surface). Very little is
absorbed, because water is only faintly colored (it is very slightly blue).
Eventually, most light that strikes the snowbank either bounces off or works
its way out after changing direction many times. This light appears to the
eye to all be reflecting off the surface of the snow, so it looks just like
any solid object. Since snow reflects or spits out light of all colors
fairly equally, it appears white.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
Snow is white because it reflects all wavelengths of light well. This is
true of all ice, unless it contains alot of air (like an iceberg, which looks
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Update: June 2012