How does snow form?

Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
July 22, 2014
How does snow form?

Every winter, the northern countries are covered with a beautiful cold snow blanket. And surely many of us at this time of the year wondered how snow is formed. Let's figure it out.

What makes snow?

Snow is a special form of precipitation, which consists of the smallest crystals of frozen water. The physical mechanism of snow formation is very simple. Microscopic water droplets in the atmosphere adhere to dust particles and freeze at a temperature of -2 degrees and below. As a result, ice crystals are formed, which fall under the action of gravity to the ground. Such crystals are called snowflakes.

Snowflakes are no more than a tenth of a millimeter in size and always form sharp ends with correct angles of 60 or 120 degrees. This is due to the molecular structure of water. Interestingly, in the process of falling to the ground, the snowflake changes its shape significantly due to the constant condensation of moisture, which immediately freezes.

Snow color and texture

Curious why the snow is white.In fact, the white color of the snow is simply caused: there is air inside the snowflake. According to research, a snowflake consists of 95% air. Light is reflected from the crystal and scatters, which is why the snow is white.

Snow can be crumbly, wet or dry. This is due to the number of crystals that form snowflakes, as well as air temperature. So, snowflakes, which were formed in the dry cold air, will give crumbly snow. At high temperatures, the air snowflakes quickly melt around the edges, because of which they stick to each other. So, in the fall, they form heavy snow lumps and flakes. Consequently, the snow will be wet and will begin to melt quickly.

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