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I've heard this before. Any truth to this? If so, how cold is too cold to snow? :unknown:
 

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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.
:mocking:
 

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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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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.
 

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Near the great lakes, cold + wind off the lake = snow.
 

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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.
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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Coldddd....

Yesterday morning it was -51 here in North Pole AK. Dry and clear, When it gets really clear and high pressure dominates interior AK it gets butt numbing cold. We get 4 hours of sunlight so we have a solar radiation defecite. It is darker and colder than the few hours of low sun angle daylight can warm. Also with all the snow on the ground the little sunlight hits white and warms very little. By yesterday evening the clouds started moving in and we warmed up 40 degrees. Down South that would be like going from freezing to 72 in an afternoon. I was an Air Force Weather forecaster for 22 years and it is fun to watch arctic weather. Yes it gets so cold that the moisture in the air is condensed out in the form of ice crystals. On clear days in AK we'll get a light snow form on cars etc from ice crystals. It is that tiny amount of moisture in the air being frozen and falling to the ground. Same thing behind a jet airplane when you see contrails. At 40 below we get those behind cars. We had ice fog, as its called, so thick yesterdy that there were dozens of wrecks around Fairbanks. Imagine driving in thick white fog when the road is covered in white snow and the sides are banks of white snow. It's easy to get disoriented and drive right off the road into deep snow. Even scarier is the guy following your taillights.
We're supposed to go above zero and snow for the next two days. As Music Man said. The pineapple express is coming. I think I'll get out my Jimmy Buffet shirt and enjoy the warm weather with a drink. Of course it has to have a little umbrella in it.
 

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I had an uncle stationed in Germany during the late 50's and he said he'd seen it snowing while on guard duty when the temperature was 10 degrees below zero.
 

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Fuel Hoser, you must really love Alaska to put up with winters like that! As they say in Minnesota, "40 below keeps out the riff-raff." I'll bet you have even less than they do.
 

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Don't know about the mice but our glaciers have worms.
Now that brings back a HydroLifeMemory! I once won $50 (using carefull argument skills, goading, prodding and insulting derision:laugh:) from a guy that didn't believe there was such a thing as "snow fleas".snow flea

Another thing I love about forums like this is "learnin' stuff", especially about other regions and places I'll never ever get to. I'm wondering though where all those arctic blizzards come from that shut down the Dalton Highway and halt arctic oil production for days at a time...? Learn me folks, learn me!:laugh:
 

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Next storm

We have a storm working it's way up the Aleutians that is bringing lots of moisture up from the Southwest. When it meets the dry/cold air in interior AK it rides up over the cold air and begins to snow. The warm moist air will erode some of the cold air and move it East into Canada. It will keep rolling East and then South through the Canadian plains as one of the clippers. If you want to look like you know something really smart then you can watch the AK weather. When we are down way below zero to butt numbing cold nothing happens. But.... When that cold air moves East and we warm up you can almost place bets on cold air roaring down into the upper midwest within 5 days.
Last Monday it started at 51 below then warmed up to zero by that night (and began to snow) by this last weekend look at the temps in ND and MN. It's a neat trick but old as weather forecasting. Once you know the typical advection patterns things run pretty much the same. Of course Mother Nature likes to mess with us and this isn't a hard formula. She has a sense of humor and eats weather forecasters for breakfast. But it does work fairly well.
On the Dalton Highway and North slope the main problem is the collision of those two airmasses. The cold/dry air doesn't want to move yet the warm moist air is being forced against it. Winds and snow cause blizzard conditions but it definitely takes the advection of warm/moist air running into the cold to cause it.
 
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