Why Does It Snow?

There is no other natural event that has attracted the imagination of adults and children more than snow. Objects like snow men, snowflakes and snow angels increase the childish wonder at the fluffy white material that people generally call snow.

Snow is something that only comes in winter. It is formed from water droplets that gather in the atmosphere. Instead of raining, snow is formed because of the freezing temperature in the atmosphere of Earth during winter.

Snow Why Does It Snow?

Why is winter cold?

It is not according to a popular belief, the distance of the earth around the sun is not the reason for the temperature to decrease during winter. Actually, the Earth is far away from the sun in July and closest to the sun in January. So the question arises that why is winter cold?

The sun rays strike the Earth during winter at a shallow angle because of the tilt of Earth’s axis. These rays are more spread out which decreases the amount of energy that can hit any given spot. The long nights and short days during winter also prevents the Earth from warming up. This is the reason for freezing temperatures in winter.

The snow forms ultimately

Due to low temperatures, impulsive in the sky falls down not as rain but in the form of snow. It is a solid form of moisture and it is different from hail or ice because of the way the ball of frozen moisture melts and freezes after falling on the ground. It gets bigger as it falls when more water vapor sticks to it freezing in the cold air.

How snowflakes are formed

The ball of moisture melts when it comes in contact with warmer air. The melting acts like a glue which bonds the crystals together into larger flakes. Eventually, it forms those “classic” fluffy snowflakes.

The exclusivity of the pattern of each snowflake depends on the surrounding air temperature and the content of water vapor. There will be a lot of water vapor in the air if it is below freezing. Six evenly spaced branches of crystal grow. More and more water vapor is collected on these branches and freezes. This makes the ice crystal heavier. Finally, the ice crystal falls from the sky. It leaves the cloud of precipitation that it helped to form.

How does snow turn into hail?

When ice crystals fall on the ground, a warm breeze in the atmosphere may be encountered. After melting and refreezing, fluffy snowflakes are formed. Although, when these ice crystals melt very fast and refreezes before falling on the ground, it turns into sleet instead of snow. On the other hand, hailstones are formed when pieces of ice crystals clump together and get blown through freezing thunderclouds until they get heavy enough to fall on the earth.

Hailstones are not like snow or sleet because they are frozen solid with a nucleus inside. This nucleus could have been formed from a small cluster of super cooled water droplets or snow clumps. The nucleus which is called the graupel can also be formed from a bug, seed or a piece of bark that is blown up into the storm cloud.

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