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Once eye crystals kind in the atmosphere, they flourish by taking in surrounding water droplets. The snowflakes we end up seeing on the ground space an buildup of these ice cream crystals. This amplified image of eye crystals was captured by a low-temperature scanning electron microscope (SEM). The pseudo colors commonly found in SEM pictures are computer generated, and in this instance highlight the different flake formations.—Credit: agricultural Research Service, United states Department of Agriculture

Whether winter storms develop snow relies greatly on temperature, yet not necessarily the temperature us feel right here on the ground. Snow creates when the atmospheric temperature is at or below freezing (0 levels Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit) and there is a minimum quantity of humidity in the air. If the soil temperature is in ~ or listed below freezing, the snow will certainly reach the ground. However, the snow have the right to still reach the ground once the ground temperature is above freezing if the problems are just right. In this case, snowflakes will begin to melt together they with this higher temperature layer; the melt creates evaporative cooling i m sorry cools the waiting immediately about the snowflake. This cooling retards melting. Together a general rule, though, snow will certainly not form if the ground temperature is at least 5 levels Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit).

While it have the right to be too warmth to snow, it cannot be also cold come snow. Snow can occur even at very low temperature as long as there is some source of moisture and also some way to background or cool the air. The is true, however, the most hefty snowfalls occur when there is relatively warm air near the ground—typically -9 levels Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) or warmer—since warmer air can hold much more water vapor.

Because snow development requires moisture, an extremely cold but very dry locations may rarely receive snow. Antarctica"s dry Valleys, because that instance, form the largest ice-free portion of the continent. The dry Valleys are quite cold but have really low humidity, and solid winds help wick any type of remaining moisture from the air. As a result, this extremely cold region receives small snow.

Snow top top the ground

The character of the snow surface after a snowfall relies on the original type of the crystals and on the weather problems present when the snow fell. For example, once a snowfall is add by strong winds, the snow crystals are broken into smaller fragments that can become much more densely packed. ~ a snowfall, snow may melt or evaporate, or it may persist for long periods. If snow persists top top the ground, the texture, size, and also shape the individual grains will adjust even when the snow temperature remains below freezing, or they may melt and also refreeze end time, and will eventually become compressed by subsequent snowfalls.

Over the winter season, the snowpack typically accumulates and also develops a complex layered structure made up of a variety of snow grains, reflecting the weather and climate conditions prevailing at the moment of deposition as well as changes within the snow cover over time.

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How huge can snowflakes get?

Snowflakes room accumulations of countless snow crystals. Many snowflakes are less than 1.3 centimeters (0.5 inches) across. Under particular conditions, generally requiring near-freezing temperatures, light winds, and unstable atmospheric conditions, lot larger and also irregular flakes can form, nearing 5 centimeters (2 inches) across. No regime measure of snowflake dimensions room taken, for this reason the precise size is no known.