Black Ice

March 10th, 2012
Black ice can form on sidewalks. It can form in parking lots. And it can form on small pieces of plastic. To be “black”, the ice only has to be noticeably darker than its surroundings. And it can be darker if the ice attaches snugly to the underlying… more »

Finally got it!

February 8th, 2012
For a few years now, myself and another ice-researcher have been trying to get a research grant from the National Science Foundation to study snow. Well, we just recently heard that the funding came through and I’ll be starting on the project in March.… more »

Caution!

February 1st, 2012
Hoar. It's just a white coating on things, so why does it make everything look more interesting? I saw this hoar coating on a plastic trash-can lid: The hoar frost on the lid had various whirls, just like I've seen on the plastic surfaces of car door… more »

Caution!

February 1st, 2012
Hoar. It's just a white coating on things, so why does it make everything look more interesting? I saw this hoar coating on a plastic trash-can lid: The hoar frost on the lid had various whirls, just like I've seen on the plastic surfaces of car door… more »

Slush Fingering and Other Pond Patterns

January 19th, 2012
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we just had our first snowfalls of the season. On the weekend, we had 1 – 2 inches. This was followed on Wednesday by what the Seattle Times newspaper was calling a “megastorm”. But in the end, most areas in the area got… more »

One Lone Crystal - 2012

January 16th, 2012
This winter is turning out to be disappointing. We've had day after day of warm temperature, often barely dropping below freezing even in the evenings. What little snow we have gotten has been sloppy an d mixed with rain. Last weekend we finally had a… more »

Snow on a Freshly Frozen Pond

January 15th, 2012
Back when I was doing post-doctoral work in Boulder, Colorado, Charlie Knight, the head of my lab, introduced me to strange ice phenomena. The most memorable one happened after the weather had been sub-zero for a few days and then we got some snow. When… more »

Seeing Things in the Frost

January 15th, 2012
In looking at the Cloud Appreciation Society's website recently, I started wondering; if they can have so much fun finding clouds that resemble various objects, why can't we do that for frost patterns? Awhile back, I posted frost that looked like an eye… more »

Fun with windshield ice

January 11th, 2012
In my last post, I pointed out that you can determine the crystal orientation in a film of ice by looking at hoar-frost that sprouts from its surface. Here's another way, but it only works if the ice is on glass. For example, here's ice on my… more »

Choppy waves

January 11th, 2012
I thought this hoar frost pattern looked like rough seas. I see choppy, cusp-like waves down there. Not having any pictures of rough seas, I hopped in our bathtub and kicked my legs around to make waves. Perhaps you can see a little resemblance.… more »