Category: "Ice Science"

What makes the thick curvy lines in frozen puddles?

January 27th, 2013
My sister recently sent this photo of a frozen puddle, a little over a foot across. Something broke out a piece of ice in the upper right, but it’s mainly a complete glaze over the top. (The white dots are rimed snow crystals. Click to zoom in and see.)… more »

Rime falling from branches

January 24th, 2013
While riding my bike home the other day, I saw what appeared to be a patch of light snow. It was the only such patch around. Looking closer, I could see that it consisted not of snow, but of chunks of partly melted rime deposits. (Note how the pieces… more »

Rime, freezing fog, and crystalline spider webs

January 22nd, 2013
The Pacific Northwest has been foggy a lot lately, but the fog droplets have been subzero, or supercooled. When such fog droplets hit an object, they almost always freeze. The resulting frozen aggregate is called rime. Freezing fogs make rime. The… more »

Frost Days and Ice Days: Declining Numbers over the Century

January 17th, 2013
David Easterling recently reported in BAMS** that the number of frost days per year is decreasing over the US. A frost day is a day in which the minimum temperature goes below the melting temperature of ice (32 F or 0 C). This doesn't sound good for a… more »

Hair Ice on Wood and Pavement

January 16th, 2013
The morning after a rapid cool-down, I found hair ice on an alder log. From a distance, it looked unnaturally white, like it was a bit of discarded cotton or white paper, but the closer I got to it, the more incredible it seemed. more »

Crystal-to-crystal “communication” through vapor and heat

January 5th, 2013
Two mornings ago, I saw this on the windshield of a parked car. The bulls-eye pattern wasn’t centered on any particular feature on the windshield, and there were similar, though less developed, patterns nearby. See them on the photo below. The dark… more »

Trip of the Ice Man

November 9th, 2012
The "Ice Man" -- that's how a newspaper header referred to me after I gave a recent conference lecture: A link to the article is here: http://www.sctimes.com/article/20121023/NEWS01/310230011/Featured-speaker-details-snow-crystals-SCSU-storm-conference… 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 »

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 »