Snow

A:

Snow, which is made up of millions of ice crystals and air pockets, reflects all of the wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum. When combined, the reflected light wavelengths create a white color. All objects in the world get their color based on which wavelengths of light they absorb and which ones they reflect.

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  • How Big Can Snowflakes Get?

    Q: How Big Can Snowflakes Get?

    A: As of 2014, the book of Guinness World Records reports the largest snowflake to have been 15 inches wide and 18 inches deep, based on an eyewitness report in 1887. The report has not been proven, and scientists confirm that large snowflakes usually range from 2 to 6 inches wide.
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  • How Many Sides Does a Snowflake Have?

    Q: How Many Sides Does a Snowflake Have?

    A: Though their crystalline structure may manifest in a variety of unique shapes and patterns, all snowflakes have six sides. Because the molecules that build up to form a snowflake are made of water, these molecules fit together in a specific and predictable way that will always result in a six-sided crystal. Water molecules may occasionally form 12-sided ice crystals, but this multiple of six is the only known exception to the six-side rule, according to NPR.org.
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  • What Causes It to Snow?

    Q: What Causes It to Snow?

    A: Snow occurs when water droplets in clouds freeze, and these droplets then act as a nucleus onto which molecules of water vapor adhere, forming larger ice crystals. Once the growing snowflake is too heavy for the movement of air in the clouds to support, it falls to the ground. Snow can form in any clouds that are below freezing temperature but only does so under the right conditions.
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  • How Much Does Snow Weigh?

    Q: How Much Does Snow Weigh?

    A: On average, snow weighs between 7 pounds per cubic foot and 20 pounds per cubic foot, according to North Dakota State University. The discrepancies can be attributed to the physical state of the ice, its depth and the atmospheric temperature; fluffy snow is light, while compacted snow is heavier.
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  • What Shape Is a Snowflake?

    Q: What Shape Is a Snowflake?

    A: While each and every snowflake can be generally said to be a hexagonal (six-sided) crystal, snowflakes come in many forms, from simple prisms and solid columns that look like rock crystals to the iconic and intricate flakes like stellar dendrites and simple stars. There are a variety of factors in play when it comes to the shape of each individual snowflake, including temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. A temperature difference of just a few degrees can mean the difference between one type of snowflake shape, such as a columnar needle, and another, such as a stellar plate.
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  • What Percentage of Fresh Snow Is Composed of Air?

    Q: What Percentage of Fresh Snow Is Composed of Air?

    A: Fresh snow is generally comprised of between 90 and 95 percent air. The presence of trapped air makes snow a good insulator, so animals often construct snow caves in which to hibernate. The snow closest to the ground is warmest and stays insulated by the air composition.
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  • How Do Avalanches Happen?

    Q: How Do Avalanches Happen?

    A: Avalanches occur when snow builds up to unstable levels on a steep surface, causing it to slide and fall. This can be due to a lack of vegetation supporting the snow, multiple layers of snow or ice, an increase in temperature or too heavy a snowfall over a short period.
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  • What Causes a Snowstorm?

    Q: What Causes a Snowstorm?

    A: Snowstorms occur when the moisture in clouds freezes and falls to the ground, causing precipitation. The temperature at ground level must also be below freezing.
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  • Where Does It Snow in November?

    Q: Where Does It Snow in November?

    A: It snows in Europe, America, Canada and Japan in November. In Europe, it snows in mid-November in France, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. In America, November snow falls mostly in New York, Colorado, Utah, and Minnesota. In Canada, snow falls largely in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Manitoba and Quebec. In Japan, snow season starts in November.
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  • Q: What Does the Controller on a Snow Plow Do?

    A: A snow plow controller allows the driver to move the snow plow blades up or down and angle them from side to side. The controllers are mounted inside the cab and come in joystick or handheld models that are easy to use while driving the plow.
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  • Q: Is Ice Wedging an Example of Chemical Weathering?

    A: According to National Geographic Education, ice wedging is an example of mechanical weathering, not chemical. This type of weathering happens when rocks are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces by physical forces without changing their chemical composition. The weathering is caused by the endless freeze-thaw cycle of water.
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  • Q: Can the Temperature Be Too Cold to Snow?

    A: It can never be too cold to snow. However, heavier snowfall occurs when the temperature near the ground is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Warmer temperatures allow more water vapor to stay in the air.
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  • Q: Why Does Snow Sometimes Turn Black?

    A: Black snow is generally created as snowflakes fall through ash, soot or petroleum-based pollutants. Snow is also sometimes found in a variety of colors, including red, blue, orange, brown and yellow.
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  • Q: Where Does Snow Come From?

    A: Snow forms in the atmosphere when the proper temperature and moisture conditions are met. For snow to materialize, temperatures must be below freezing, or around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and there must be a slight amount of moisture present in the air. In order for snow to have the best chance of reaching the ground, temperatures must be at or below freezing.
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  • Q: What Are Truck Plows Used For?

    A: Truck plows are used for private snowplowing, a necessary part of life in any area where municipal plowing services are not timely or a private driveway is too long to shovel alone. Truck plows are large, complex machines mounted on the front end of a pickup truck and adjusted via hydraulics.
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  • Q: Can It Snow Above 32 Degrees ?

    A: Snow forms only when the temperature in the atmosphere is at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the air has at least a bit of moisture. In general, snow does not occur if ground temperatures are at least 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
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  • Q: Where Can You Find a List of Fun Facts About Snow?

    A: Find a list of fun facts about snow on the Michigan Science Center website, Old Farmer's Almanac website and Science Kids website. Each snowflake is a unique creation, one of the facts on the list. This occurs because each flake forms in a different location under slightly different circumstances and the molecules that make it up are arranged uniquely.
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  • Q: How Are Snowflakes Formed?

    A: Snowflakes form when a droplet of water vapor freezes onto a dust particle or pollen grain in the sky, creating an ice crystal. As the crystal falls, more water vapor freezes onto the original crystal, creating new crystals, which form the six arms of the snowflake.
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  • Q: What Are the Snowiest Cities in the World?

    A: The top three snowiest cities in the world, which are all located in Japan, are Aomori, Sapporo and Toyama, respectively. In Aomori, the average snowfall amount is 312 inches, and Sapporo has an average of 191 inches of snow. Toyama receives an average of 143 inches.
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  • Q: How Does Snow Occur?

    A: Snowflakes form in the atmosphere when extremely cold water droplets form frozen crystals around tiny particles of dust or pollen. When these ice crystals fall closer to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal and snowflakes grow larger with more crystals. This frozen water creates six-sided crystals.
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  • Q: At What Temperature Does Snow Stick?

    A: When the temperature of the ground is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, snow sticks. When the atmospheric temperature is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is a minimal amount of moisture in the air, snow forms. The heaviest snowfalls typically occur when temperatures hover around 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
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