Skip main navigation

Creation of snow

In this video the creation of snow is described.
4.2
It is said that no snowflake is the other one alike. To understand this we of course need to understand how snow is formed. Snow is formed in the atmosphere. To get the first small snowflake, you need two things. First the nucleus that can be a pollen or dust particle or something similar. The second thing is that you need a droplet of supercooled water. Then you ask yourself what is super cool water? That is actually water that have a temperature below zero degrees centigrade. But isn’t that when ice is formed? No, not always. Because water can actually be minus degrees. If it’s really, really clean. To freeze water, it’s like snow.
46.4
You need a new nucleus or something that start the freezing process. But let’s get back to the snowflake. When one of these small nucleus hits the water droplet of super cool water, the water will freeze more or less instantaneously. And we have our first snowflake core.
70.8
So now we have a small snowflake core that start to fall towards the ground. As there is humidity in the air it falls through, there will be super saturation, which means that the snowflake will start to grow. But as it grows, it will pass through different winds, different temperature, humidity, which will actually form the snowflake.
93.1
All these parameters and the differences in the nucleus can be varied in so many ways that is actually the description why the snowflakes are not alike.
107.7
But in some way, they will resemble each other in this graph, the different form of snowflakes that can appear are shown. On the X and Y axis we have the temperature and supersaturation. Of course, this is only a general map of different types of snowflakes to give an indication of the different types. But research has shown that there are three main forms, dendrites, plates and columns. These forms are created at different temperature and different super saturations, as can be seen in the graph.
147
There is also a fourth the needles and if you have ever experienced that type of snowflakes, you know that the name needles is a really good description because it’s actually feels like get needles in your face when you meet these. So are you able to choose the right name for the snowflakes? Please look at the exercise in this section of the course.

Snow: How is it created?

In this video, we’ll explore how snow is created in the atmosphere and the parameters that affect snowflake build-up.

For example:

  • Nucleus
  • Supercooled water
  • Supersaturation
  • Temperature
  • Wind
This article is from the free online

Snow: What It Is and Why It Matters

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education