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Too Cold To Snow?

If you live in a region where it snows frequently, you probably have heard adults claim that it is too cold to snow. This claim may seem to be based upon an old wives' tale. In this experiment, you will analyze the temperature as it relates to snowfall to determine if this is true.Understanding just what conditions are necessary for snowfall will help you understand your data. Three conditions must be satisfied before it will snow. First, the air in the clouds and the air in the ground must be below freezing. Obviously, it cannot snow if conditions are such that the snowflakes immediately melt. Second, there must be sufficient humidity to form clouds and precipitation. Lastly, there must be lift. Lift means that conditions must be such that the moist air rises off the ground to form clouds. This happens when warm air collides with cold air. Land areas where cold and warm air come together to create lift are called fronts.Generally when people say it’s too cold to snow, they mean that there is not enough warm air in the environment to create lift. When it is very cold – below 0 degrees Fahrenheit – the atmosphere is usually too stable to create lift. Colder air also holds less moisture than warmer air which also prevents snow from forming.

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