Too Cold to Snow?
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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    Question Too Cold to Snow?

    I've heard this before. Any truth to this? If so, how cold is too cold to snow?
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    jsokel's Avatar
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    The phrase is "mostly true".

    Typically when it gets really cold, there isn't enough moisture in the air to condense into precipitation.

    This will help with a more detailed and scientific answer

    CAN IT BE TOO COLD TO SNOW?
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    I believe the answer to the question is correct. I may be wrong on this, but someone with scientific knowledge might reply. I think it never or rarely snows at the north & south poles. The polar ice caps are tens of thousands of years old if not millions. Most of that polar ice cover is sea water- I think-I really don't know. On the other hand I suppose in the summer months at the poles it could get warm enough to snow if the atmosphere has enough water in it to allow it.

    I do know that there are times that Dopler radar will pick up snow, but it will be so high up in the freezing atmosphere that it never makes it down to ground level. We are in that condition right now where I live. Maybe there is a Polar bear out there who can tell us for sure.

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    It all depends how much moisture is in the weather system that is going through. It can be -20f and a low system go through and warm it up to -10f and it snows. This works for any place in the state. We even have a 'pineapple express' that is a large low with its tail around Hawaii that will pump warm wet air in to central Alaska[ ie. Fairbanks] and it will rain in the middle of winter. That makes for fun driving!

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    In spite of ice sheets over a mile thick in Antarctica, it doesn't snow very heavily there given the cold climate. Most of the snow one sees at the South Pole is blowing snow. I believe Antarctica is classified as a desert by the scientific community.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    ejb69's Avatar
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    Near the great lakes, cold + wind off the lake = snow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    In spite of ice sheets over a mile thick in Antarctica, it doesn't snow very heavily there given the cold climate. Most of the snow one sees at the South Pole is blowing snow. I believe Antarctica is classified as a desert by the scientific community.
    Yes-that's correct. It is classified as a desert because it meets all the dry qualifications to be called a desert. Gee, I wonder if they have Ice Mice down there instead of dung beetles & scorpions.

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    Don't know about the mice but our glaciers have worms.
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    Scotty370's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    Don't know about the mice but our glaciers have worms.
    Really? Just tryin' to learn! ~Scotty

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