So how does snow form?
When warm and cool air collide, the water vapor in the warmer air rises with it. Once the water vapor is at a higher altitude, clouds are formed from the vapor cooling down and turning back to liquid. The vapor that turns into ice will form around small particles, such as dust or dirt, and make ice crystals. These become the seeds for forming snowflakes.
Snow begins to form when the cloud reaches an atmospheric temperature below 0°C: the ice crystals continue to grow as the water vapor freezes onto their surfaces. Snowflakes are formed when these ice crystals come in contact with each other and start forming symmetrical patterns.
When the air becomes warmer, these ice crystals melt around the edges slightly, and can clump together.
Why does it snow?
As ice crystals continue to stick together, the snowflakes get bigger and heavier and they fall collectively as snow. Despite what many people believe, it can still snow when the temperatures are above 0°C and will maintain its form if it stays roughly below 2°C.
The type of crystal formed, and whether you’ll get wet or dry snow, mainly depends on the temperature and atmospheric conditions. Snowflakes that fall through cold and dry air will end up being small and powdery — this will be “dry” snow that doesn’t clump together. On the other hand, the snowflakes that fall through warmer, moist air, clump together to form “wet” snow.
Types of ground snow
Snow settles differently. It can be dry and powdery or wet and slushy — this depends on the ground conditions.
Freshly fallen snow settles in a powder-like fashion if temperatures are below 0°C and the air is dry. Powdery surfaces are perfect for snowboarders and skiers.
As powdery snow gets walked on and pushed around, it becomes crud. It is compacted in certain areas and lumps start to form. The snow is still relatively soft to walk on and is still “dry” to the touch.
When the sun beats down on the snow and warm winds melt the top, a crust forms. If you walk on the snow when it is undisturbed, you’ll feel a crunch when you step into the flat surface.
The snow is near its melting point. The snowflakes are still intact but are all stuck together, which makes it easy to shape. Packing snow is perfect for making snowballs and building snowmen.
This is partially melted snow or ice just like the brown slush which can be found in gutters.
What is a Snowman?
A traditional snowman is built with three large balls of snow, usually going from largest at the bottom to smallest on top. Most commonly snowmen will feature stick arms, rocks for mouth and eyes and, typically a carrot for a nose. Frosty will usually wear a top hat and a scarf.
Near-melting temperatures are necessary as the snow must be somewhat sticky in order to create the balls.
Why do we build Snowmen?
People may have been using snow to create some form of human replicas for thousands of years, but the earliest documentation is found in the Dutch “Book of Hours” from 1380 A.D.
During the Middle Ages, the snowman gained popularity and became a celebratory figure. It was something similar to what Christmas lights are today.
The largest snowman was actually a snow-woman built in Bethel, Maine, in 2008. She was an incredible 37-metre tall.
Happy English learning!!