Ever wondered why sometimes snow sticks together and sometimes it’s powdery and loose? The reason for this lies in the snowflake’s journey as it falls through the atmosphere.
Snowflakes that fall through a dry, cool atmosphere will be small and powdery and won’t stick together. We call this dry snow – it’s ideal for skiing, but not for building a snowman.
The snowflakes that form wet snow will have fallen through temperatures slightly warmer than 0 °C. As they fall, the snowflakes melt slightly around the edges and stick together to form large, heavy flakes. These stick together easily and are the best for a snowball fight and making snowmen.
The exact amount of water contained in snow can vary quite significantly depending on how the snow formed, but as a general average, every 12 cm of snow would provide 1 cm of water.
Poor Man’s Fertiliser
Snow has been referred to as the poor man’s fertiliser and this is not just an old gardener’s tale. The science behind this assertion is that as snow falls through the atmosphere, nitrogen and sulphur attach to the flakes. When the snow melts, these elements are released into the soil and absorbed by plants. Nitrogen in particular is essential to plant growth.