types of snowfall

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  • 1 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, Albany, N.Y. 12222
  • 2 Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colo. 80302
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Few would question such doggerel as “no two snow crystals are alike and in infinite variety they fall.” Conversely, many might challenge the statement that individual crystals are relatively scarce by comparison with snowflake aggregates, rimed crystals, and irregular forms; but they are. The types of snow occurring in a storm are a function of many variables including updraft strength, temperature, cloud moisture, liquid water content, cloud thickness, and ice nuclei and crystal concentrations. Some of the relationships are obvious, others more obscure, still others unknown. This paper describes ground observations and calculations that attempt to clarify certain snowfall forms in terms of the cloud conditions likely to produce them.

Few would question such doggerel as “no two snow crystals are alike and in infinite variety they fall.” Conversely, many might challenge the statement that individual crystals are relatively scarce by comparison with snowflake aggregates, rimed crystals, and irregular forms; but they are. The types of snow occurring in a storm are a function of many variables including updraft strength, temperature, cloud moisture, liquid water content, cloud thickness, and ice nuclei and crystal concentrations. Some of the relationships are obvious, others more obscure, still others unknown. This paper describes ground observations and calculations that attempt to clarify certain snowfall forms in terms of the cloud conditions likely to produce them.

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