Snow is made up of ice crystals which form while suspended in the air or within clouds. These crystals then fall to the ground where they undergo further changes. The final result is a white coating on the ground. But, how does snow form? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the process.
Snow forms when water in the air freezes and forms ice crystals around dirt particles carried into the atmosphere by the wind. The ice crystals then stick together to form snowflakes. When enough ice crystals stick together, they become heavy enough to fall. Snowflakes will melt into sleet if they pass through warmer air. If they fall through dry air, they will become powdery.
The texture of snow depends on the atmospheric conditions as well as the temperature of the snow. Powder snow is light and fluffy while grainy snow is densely packed. Snow may remain on the ground for long periods or evaporate. During these periods, the temperature of the snow may remain below freezing, making the snowpack change in texture and density.
Snow forms when a cold front moves through the atmosphere. This creates a low-pressure area. The low-pressure area consists of warm and cold air masses. The low-pressure area is the most important component of a snow cloud. Snow also forms when cold air in the atmosphere has a lift effect, allowing warm air to hold more water vapor.