A rain forest gathers rain, a snow garden gathers snow. This hub is about the cold, wet and fluffy white stuff which occupies much of the extremities of the world's northern and southern hemispheres.
Because the Earth's axis is tilted by 23-1/2 degrees, differing lengths of daylight occur at different times of the year which creates the four seasons. By about December 21, the Sun is overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn. This is winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, which marks the shortest number of daylight hours of the year (7 hours 49 minutes) and it is the official beginning of winter. At the opposite end of the world, in the southern hemisphere, summer begins.
Quebec and Ontario Snow
Here in Quebec and Ontario, Canada, we have winter snow gardens where one must ply the shovel and ho ho ho to the best of their abilities.
Extremely cold and sunny days are followed by mild to moderate snow blizzards. In milder weather between 0 to -10 degrees Celsius a snowstorm may drop 5 to 35 centimeters of snow on any given day. Certain disturbances produce ice storms: A mild weather front which produces freezing rain that coats everything in ice and causes serious damages and power outages which inconveniences everyone.
Some people love snow for making snowballs, snowmen and igloos. Others like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice sculpting, tobogganing or just trudging through the white stuff. Some truly dislike it, yet learn to live with it. I am kind of in between. I love the way it makes everything look, but the look starts to fade by the second or third month. And I am not that good at shoveling.
In the country the crop of snow is pristine and blinding as the sun reflects upon glittering fields of snowflakes. Often, after a deep freeze, one can’t see where the land ends and the lake begins. But in the city there is a different kind of snow we facetiously refer to as SNIRT. It starts off as regular snow then turns into a mixture of snow and dirt from street vehicles. It may be gray slush or black on white.
A city snow garden is lovely, whilst your car is boxed in and snow melts in your boots as you shovel a path to get to it. The front or back yard garden is always perfect for making forts and tunnels, decorating snowmen and Christmas trees. Prettiest of all are the bushes and trees littered with snow. The winter berries peppered with ice and starry flakes clinging to the horse’s mane. In this garden the children squeal with laughter, the dog barks and rolls and plows into the snow drifts. The cat gingerly paws the cold stuff then goes back inside and sulks for the rest of the winter.
Let it Snow - Photos: CTV news, Toronto Sun, McGill, National PostClick thumbnail to view full-size
Snow: Who needs it?
The Hydrologic Cycle
Kids, winter sports enthusiasts and athletes seem to need it. More importantly, the Earth needs it. Snow only falls in certain parts of the world, yet it is very important for the Earth's hydrologic cycle [or water cycle], which provides irrigation for crops, controls climate, provides freshwater reserves, and is essential for the maintenance of life and ecosystems on our planet.
We all need it.
Fun in the Snow - Select one even if you don't get any snow where you live?
Which is your favorite snow activity?
Taken in MontrealClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lemoine Point Conservation Area, Kingston, Ontario - Photos courtesy of Lynda BissonetteClick thumbnail to view full-size
What is Snow?
It's white, cold and wet, then it melts and disappears.
Snow is the accumulation of ice crystals which originate in clouds when temperatures are below the freezing point (0 Celsius, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit). Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses into ice crystals which absorb and freeze additional water vapor causing them to grow into snow crystals or pellets. Gravity draws them to fall on Earth.
The trip down from cloud to Earth may alter the condition and shape of the precipitation. Snowflakes are clusters of ice crystals. Snow pellets [or Graupel] are soft and crumbly. Sleet is a drizzling mix of rain and snow, sometimes referred to as freezing rain or ice pellets.
Snow can be classified as a mineral since frozen water [ice] has a chemical composition (H20) with hydrogen and oxygen atoms bonding in a specific manner.
Note: Hail, which is frozen yet not considered snow, is usually generated by thunderstorms in spring and summer, rather than in winter.
A Snowstorm to Remember - The snow came fast and poor Gato wanted to go outside.Click thumbnail to view full-size
On Days Like These ~for me it's - Puzzles, Games, Books, Movies, & Home-made Chicken Soup.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Refreshments on a Bed of Snow
They call this entertainment for cats, but I like it, too.
Cardinals, Jays, Nuthatches and chickadees.
2014Click thumbnail to view full-size
© 2013 Carol Houle