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Spanish winter

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Offline Technopat

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« on: February 06, 2008, 18:02 PM »
Greetings All,
Looking for answers to Clive's snow bell / snow well conundrum, I came across the following newspaper cutting (which I can't copy & paste) from Salamanca: “EL FOMENTO” dated FRIDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY 1887, xplaining everthing you need to know about snow:

http://www.salamancacofrade.com/EspecialesReportajes/La_Nieve2004.html

Regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Towards the end, the article mentions that the colder it is, the smaller the snowflakes, giving the example of polar regions, where it appears to fall as a fine dry powder. Not yet having visited either of the Poles, I wanted to ask you Rugged Outdoor Types - of both sexes, 'e 'astens to add before getting 'is 'ead chewed off - who go skinny-dippiing in the snow whether that is so, ‘cos I’m pretty sure that the biggest flakes I’ve ever seen have been at night and at extremely low temps. Or is it yet another instance of my memory playing tricks again?
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 23:09 PM »
Greetings All,
Couldn't wait fer y'all to get back to me on this one, so phoned a mate of mine - the one who goes heli-skiing in Canada every year* - to ask his qualified opinion. He said that rather than absolute temps. it was a matter of relative humidity, i.e. in the Rockies, a long way inland (I can't remember how many miles he said), the snow is very dry and therefore the flakes very small, and if I remembered large fluffy snowflakes under extremely cold conditions it would have been 'cos I was close-ish to the sea - which was indeed the case.

*What was that daft comment someone made 'bout being judged by the company one keeps?  >:D

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline lisa

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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2008, 07:31 AM »
I've lived in the Swiss (very necessary ref.) Alps and remember huge flakes falling. You can't get much more inland than that. Also, temp's tend to be colder prior to and after snowfall, I think (it can actually feel relatively warm while large flakes are falling - no wind?) but I'll consult my personal weather oracle when he gets up  :)
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 08:20 AM »
Sorry, I forgot this. Mike said that the size of snowflakes is relative to the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Meaning if it fell as big, fat raindrops then, if falling as snow, the flakes would be big too. He also said that some of the biggest flakes he's seen were falling as part sleet so temp. must play a part too? Lack of wind also has an effect. Much of which corroborates Tp's friend's answers apart from the proximity to the sea.
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 12:30 PM »
Greetings Lisa 'n' All,
Humidity in air would certainly seem to be key. Swiss Alps? Misty/foggy mountain tops/valleys? Distance as the crow flies from Lake Geneva?

Be interesting to know size of snowflakes currently floating down over Barcelona's beaches. Wind factor?

Oh-I-do-like-to-be-beside-the-sea regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Bob M

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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 12:43 PM »
We are often told that no two snowflakes are ever the same (well I am anyway).  I've always rather doubted this, as a lot of snowflakes must have fallen over the Earth during its 4.5 billion year history and the possibility of two of them being the same would seem to quite high.  I mean, how many snowflakes fall in a year?  In a century? In a billion years including ice ages when large areas of the planet were covered by fallen snow?

And what do we mean by, "not the same"? Indistinguishable to the naked eye?  Indistinguishable under a magnifying glass? Indistinguishable under a microscope? At a molecular level under an electron microscope?

But my main question is - how would anybody know that no two identical flakes have fallen? Let's say that I compare 1,000 flakes or a million flakes and they are all different, would that really prove they are never identical? So, is it true and if so, how does anybody know?

Offline Dave

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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 12:51 PM »
From one flake to another
According to Wikipedia
It is next to impossible that two snowflakes are exactly alike due to the roughly 1018 water molecules which make up a snowflake,[14]  which grow at different rates and in different patterns depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground united.[15]  Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing  thousands of them with a microscope  from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today.[16]  It is more likely that two snowflakes could become virtually identical if their environments were similar enough. Matching snow crystals were discovered in Wisconsin in 1988. The crystals were not flakes in the usual sense but rather hollow hexagonal  prisms.[17]
So if Wiki says it is true it must be  ::)
Regards
Dave

Offline Bob M

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 13:20 PM »
Mmmm.  so there are 1018 molecules in a (presumably) average snowflake.  I must admit that I would have imagined a number considerably greater. Presumably these are some constraints in the way in which they can crystallize and there are a finite number of patterns into which they could form.

This finite number may be very large however. On the other hand the number of snowflakes which have fallen over the last 4.5 billion years will also be very large.  To be honest, 4.5 billion is a pretty large number - whether you are counting annual snowflake count or not.

So anybody able to give a rough guess at the number of ways in which 1018 molecules can form a snowflake? If it's 1x2x3x4 etc up to x 1018  then it's going to be astronomical. But as I said before I doubt that's the case as some configurations must be impossible/improbable, a flat sheet for example.

Anybody up for calculating the number of snowflakes which fall in a year?  Of course we'd then have to adjust for climate change over the aeons, continental drift etc etc and then work back over the 4.5 billion years.  Both calculations are obviously difficult but neither are impossible in principle.

If the number of fallen flakes is greater then the number of possible configurations then - case closed. An identical flake must have fallen.

If the possible snowflake configurations are larger than the number of snowflakes which we believe have fallen we only need to calculate how much larger the possible number of snowflakes is than the number fallen to know with some certainty that no two identical flakes have fallen.    But the number would need to be a lot larger.  Because if it's only two or three times bigger then the possibility of a coincidental snowflake match is quite high.

Simple really.


« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 14:24 PM by Bob M »

Offline Dave

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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 13:36 PM »
Or we could simply stop calculating and enjoy the snow
Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 20:55 PM »
I knew that would get you Young 'Uns at it :technodevil: - this thread hadn't been touched for TWO years  :speechless:

Talking about mindless stats, it's taken me nigh on 25 years to make Mrs Tp to finally come round to the idea that yours truly is not totally nuts just 'cos he likes going out in the snow whenever he gets the chance.* These days, however, she'll even let me take the Technopatlets out when it snows - while she stays at home.

*Mind you, the stories of me youth 'bout rolling around in the snow to cool down between sauna sessions probably didn't help. :dancing:

Wish-I-could-go-for-a-dip-at-the-seaside-with-snow-on-the-beach regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266