Laboratory experiments investigating falling snowflakes

Laboratory experiments investigating falling snowflakes

Laboratory experiments investigating falling snowflakes By Mark McCorquodale In the UK there are, on average, just 23.7 days of snow fall or sleet a year. However, precipitation in the form of ice crystals, or snowflakes, is an important feature within the atmosphere, both in the UK and worldwide. Research indicates that 50% of global precipitation events are linked to the production of ice in clouds, either falling as snow or melting as it falls to produce rain1. This percentage increases to 85% of precipitation events in mid-latitudes, covering the UK, and 98% of precipitation events in Polar Regions. The small ice particles formed in clouds precipitate slowly, at a much smaller velocity than large snowflakes falling in the lower atmosphere. However, this process must be represented within climate models as the precipitation of ice crystals determines the lifetime of clouds, which in turn impacts the atmosphere’s energy balance by, for example, reflecting incoming radiation from the sun. (more…)...
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