Albedo is a measure of reflectivity, measured on a scale of 0 (all light is absorbed) to 1 (total reflection). Fresh snow has an albedo of up to 0.90, which is very high - that’s why it looks bright white. Snow's ability to reflect sunlight reduces the temperature at the surface and allows more snow to settle. You can see how this enables a virtuous circle: snow falls, greater albedo, cooler temperatures, more snow settles. Of course, the converse is also the case. Bare, darker land is warmer and snow doesn’t settle but melt, leaving the land still bare.
—Jay Owens. Disturbances #9: Cryolite to Cryoconite