This winter, it's a topic with a vengeance. According to Environment Canada, we've been setting snow records this year:
- a new daily record of 24 cm November 9
- more snow in the first three weeks of November than we had all last winter
- the snowiest November since the 1880s
In December, the snow continued. And with another 20+ cm dump yesterday, January just seems like more of the same.
Snowflake Bentley tells the story of Vermont farmer Wilson Bentley, who studied snow and took pictures of snow crystals. In the book, someone tells Bentley that "snow in Vermont is as common as dust." I laughed when I read those lines. Did you know that snowflakes start out as tiny crystals no larger than a speck of dirt or dust, and join with other crystals when they fall? Most snowflakes are six-sided, and the size of one flake depends on the number of crystals forming it. When I was a child, I remember catching snowflakes on a mitten. An individual snowflake can be quite beautiful.
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) has collected a whole database of types of snow. The NSIDC site talks about blizzards, flurries, and snowbursts like the ones we've experienced this winter. We're too familiar with blowing snow and drifting snow. That's all we seem to see on the roads lately. The site lists some unusual types too, like "névé" (refrozen and compacted) and "graupel" (rounded snowflakes or snow pellets).
Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some of the snow sites I found:
National Snow and Ice Data Centre
Science of snow: FamilyEducation.com
Snow Day by L L Melton
Study snow science: University of Montana
Please leave a comment and share interesting facts about snow or snow science with us.
By Marie Powell
By Marie Powell