I woke up on Wednesday morning and couldn’t believe my eyes. Snow covered everything outdoors, not thick snow, but enough to provoke and excited “wow!” (from me, first of all). The walk to school was very slippery though, with sheets of ice covering roads and pavements and much to my son’s disappointment, it wasn’t really the right kind of snow for snowballs. It was too cold and icy and all we managed to do was to powder each other with soft ice crystals.
So, I wondered, what IS snow, and why is it that sometimes you can make snowballs and others, not? The answer, it seems, is in the temperature. Here’s some interesting information about snow:
Snow is precipitation, just as rain is (water in the atmosphere coming back to earth), and begins its life when a droplet of water forms around a speck of sand or dirt in the clouds. The water freezes and on it’s way down bumps into and attaches itself to other water droplets, ice and other snowflakes.
The ideal temperature for snow, according to the met office is zero to two degrees centigrade. The warmer it is, the stickier the snow is and the better for making snowballs and snowmen. When it’s colder, the snow if fluffier and doesn’t stick together, as we found out this week.
Snowflakes always have six sides. This is because of something called hydrogen bonding (and you can google that if you’d like to know more – I won’t attempt to try and explain that to you myself!).
You often hear that no two snowflakes are the same, and although I would imagine this to be impossible to prove, I read a National Geographic article that told me that scientists believe this to be highly likely.
Did you know that snow is transparent and not white? It looks white because there are so many different angles and surfaces inside that the light bounces all around them and appears white.
Snowflakes fall at around three miles per hour, equivalent to a nice walking pace, which must be why they seem so soothing to watch, compared to rain, which falls quickly, at around seventeen miles per hour.
Fascinating stuff. Can you add to this list?
Written by our regular contributor Catherine.
All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Room To Grow.