Friday, 27 April 2012

Amazing Facts About Snow...!!!!!

Did you know that each winter one septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) of snow crystals drop from the sky and that it takes about a million little droplets to make one snowflake? As common as it might seem at first glance, snow is actually a very complex type of precipitation. If you are wondering which is the world’s largest snowflake or what is the record for the greatest snowfall in the United States, you have landed on right page. Here are my Top 10 fascinating facts about snow. 

10. Funny Snow Terminology

Not all snow is the same and who knows this better than skiers 
and snowboarders? Skiers created in the early 1900s their own terminology 
to describe various types of snow. The crazy lingo used by them includes 
funny terms such as “pow pow,” “mashed potatoes,” “champagne snow (powder),” “cauliflower,” “sticky snow,” “dust on crust” and many other descriptive terms. Slang adds humor, color and personality to any vocabulary. 
Did you know that “pow pow” or simply pow (from powder) is the fresh powder snow, which is actually a soft, fluffy type of snow? “Champagne snow” has such an extremely low moisture content that you can’t even make a snowball with it. While “champagne powder” is great for skiing because it’s smooth and dry, “mashed potatoes” is an old, dense and heavy snow that is hard to turn skis in.

9. The World’s Largest Snowflake

According to specialists, “snowflakes are agglomerates of many
frozen ice crystals., most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across”, 
NSIDC. The water content of snowflakes is more variable than we think.
An average snowflake is made up of 180 billion molecules of water, but 
the snow-water ration depends on various factors such as temperature,
crystal structure, wind speed etc. 

8. The Colors of Snow

While many think that snow is either white or blue, its ‘colors’ range
from yellow and orange to green and even purple, but…believe it or not, 
snow is actually colorless. According to the National Snow and Ice Data
Center, “the complex structure of snow crystals results in countless tiny 
surfaces from which visible light is efficiently reflected. What little sunlight is absorbed by snow is absorbed uniformly over the wavelengths of visible light 
thus giving snow its white appearance.”

Different strains of algae can color the snow yellow, red, orange, brown, green. 
Of course, the snow acquires its color after it has fallen. You may see snow that falls pink, brown, orange or red, if the air is filled with dust, pollutants or sand. Orange snow fell over Siberia in 2007 and Krasnodar (Russia) was covered by pink snow in 2010.

7. Snowfall Record
Mount Baker, in the North Cascades of Washington State, holds 
this amazing world record, a reported 1,140 inches accumulated during
the 1998-99 snowfall season. It is the youngest volcano of the Mount Baker volcanic region and the most heavily glaciated of the inhospitable Cascade volcanoes. Mount Baker (10,775 feet) is for sure one of the snowiest places on earth.

6. Snowfall Record Within 24th
The greatest amount of snow to fall within 24 hours in U.S. occurred
in Silver Lake – Colorado in 1921: 76 inches of snow. Another impressive
record of 63 inches was registered in Georgetown, Colorado on December 4, 1913. It can never be to cold to snow. Actually, it can snow even at incredibly 
low temperatures “as long as there is some source of moisture and some way 
to lift or cool the air.” (National Snow and Ice Data Center). However, major snowfalls occur in relatively warm temperature climates. If you are curious to know how much snow falls where you live, check out the Snowfall Table 
provided by the National Climatic Data Center. 

5. The Longest Winter Road in the World
Constructed each January on ice and snow, the ‘Wapusk Trail’ road
has a length of 467 miles and links Gillam, Manitoba with Peawanuk, 
Ontario, Canada. ‘Wapusk Trail’ is the longest seasonal winter road 
in the world. It even got a Guinness World Records certificate. This type
of ‘temporary highways’ have a crucial role in enabling goods to be delivered
to communities without permanent road access. Warm weather forces the 
closure of the winter road staring with March, early April. Air transportation 
is an alternative, but it’s quite expensive. 

4. Snowstorms and Bombs
Did you know that a single snowstorm can drop more than 39 million 
tons of snow, carrying the energy equivalent to 120 atomic bombs?
‘The Great Blizzard of 1888’ was one of the most devastating snowstorms 
to hit New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The storm 
dumped up to 50 inches of snow. ‘The Great Snow of 1717’, ‘The Washington 
and Jefferson Snowstorm’, ‘The Long Storm of November 1798’ and the
‘Portland Storm’ are other major snowstorms that struck America. 

3. The Fastest Ever Half-Marathon Run Barefoot on Snow
Dutch daredevil Wim Hof holds the world record for running the fastest 
half marathon barefoot on snow and ice. He completed the marathon in 
2 hr 16 min 34 sec near Oulu, Finland, on 26 January 2007. Hof’s stunning abilities to withstand harsh winds, snow, ice and freezing temperatures won 
him the nickname ‘Ice Man’. By courageously swimming 80 meters under the North Pole ice, Wim Hof earned another Guinness World Record.

2. The Largest Snow Sculpture
A team of 600 amazing sculptors unveiled at the Harbin International Ice 
and Snow Sculpture Festival held on December 20, 2007 – ‘Romantic Feelings’ – the world’s largest snow sculpture. The Olympic Games were the source of inspiration for the staggering 656 ft long and 115 ft tall sculpture. This magnificent ‘landscape’ was the centerpiece of the festival opened in the Heilongjiang Province, one of China’s coldest places.

1. The Snowflake Man
Throughout time, snowflakes have fascinated many eminent scientists 
and philosophers such as René Descartes, Johannes Kepler and Robert
Hooke, but the man who literally devoted his entire life to showing us 
the diversity and beauty of snowflakes is American Wilson A. Bentley 
(February 9, 1865 – December 23, 1931).

This ‘snowtastic’ Top 10 list is a tribute to Wilson Bentley, the first man to capture snow crystals on film. Known as “The Snowflake Man”, Bentley 
captured more than 5000 photographs of snowflakes. He received international acclaim in the 19th century for his pioneering work in the fields of photomicrography, because he perfected a process of photographing snowflakes before they either melted or sublimed.

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