Science

Will it snow on Mars ?

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

This is the lines from famous author Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening”. Winter season is the time of snow. Snow is one of the magical gift from the nature. According to different geographical region types of snow will be different in its appearance. Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes. It consists of frozen crystalline water throughout its life cycle, starting when, under suitable conditions, the ice crystals form in the atmosphere, increase to millimeter size, precipitate and accumulate on surfaces, then metamorphose in place, and ultimately melt, slide or sublimate away. The light fluffy snow forms when all layers of the atmosphere are below freezing. because the air is cold, all the way down to the surface, snowflakes don’t melt. That allows the individual flakes to stay light and fluffy. Snow develops in clouds that themselves are part of a larger weather system. The physics of snow crystal development in clouds results from a complex set of variables that include moisture content and temperatures. The resulting shapes of the falling and fallen crystals can be classified into a number of basic shapes and combinations thereof. Occasionally, some plate-like, dendritic and stellar-shaped snowflakes can form under clear sky with a very cold temperature inversion present.

Some Mind-blowing facts about Snow

Snow isn’t actually white

That’s right. Snow is actually clear. Snowflakes are made out of ice crystals, so when light passes through, it bends and bounces off each individual crystal. The entire spectrum of light is reflected back to our eyes, and we see white snow. So there’s actually no such thing as a White Christmas, but that sounds a lot catchier than Translucent Christmas.

Snowflakes aren’t the only form of snow  

Snow can also precipitate as graupel or sleet. Not to be confused with hail, graupel (or snow pellets) are opaque ice particles that form in the atmosphere as ice crystals fall through freezing cloud droplets—meaning cloud particles that are colder than the freezing point of water but remain liquid. The cloud droplets group together to form a soft, lumpy mass.

The largest snowflake might have been 15 inches wide

According to some sources, the largest snowflakes ever observed fell during a snowstorm in January 1887 at Montana’s Fort Keogh. While witnesses said the flakes were “larger than milk pans,” these claims have not been substantiated.

Snowflakes of many designs

One of the determining factors in the shape of individual snowflakes is the air temperature around it. The study of flakes has identified that long, thin needle-like ice crystals form at around -2 C (28 F), while a lower temperature of -5 C (23 F) will lead to very flat plate-like crystals. Further changes in temperature as the snowflake falls determines different shapes of the six arms or dendritic structure of the crystal.

Snowflakes always have six sides

It’s science. The water molecules that snowflakes are made of can only fit together in a way that results in a six-sided ice crystal.

Snow was almost illegal

The 1991-1992 snow season was particularly bad for Syracuse, New York. More than 162 inches of snow fell on the city. So in March of 1992, the Syracuse Common Council passed a decree “on behalf of its snow-weary citizens” that said any more snow before Christmas Eve of that year was outlawed.

80% of all the freshwater on earth is frozen as ice or snow.  This accounts for 12% of the earth’s surface.

Mt. Baker ski area in Washington State has the world record for snowfall at 1,140 inches of snow in the 1998/1999 winter season.  Mt. Baker ski area is located near but not on the real 10,781’ Mount Baker.  You can just imagine what the snow totals were on the real Mount Baker that year

The continental U.S. gets an average of 105 snow-producing storms each year, but the number of blizzards has doubled in the last 20 years. Between 1960 and 1994, there were about nine blizzards per year. Since 1995, however, the average increased to 19 a year. Researchers believe this could be related to low sunspot activity.

Each winter in the US , atleast 1 septillion ice crystals fall from the sky

That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—24 zeros!

According to Nasa’s scientific simulations (corroborated by remote robots on the planet’s surface), during the summer in the north of Mars there may well be sudden, violent snow storms. We know there are clouds and subsurface ice on Mars, so snow is certainly plausible. Scientists also detected a cloud of carbon dioxide snowflakes over the southern pole of the planet.

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