Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Too cold to Snow
Name: Barbie
Status: student
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
What is meant by the phrase "it's too cold to snow"?


Replies:
If it is too cold, the atmosphere can not hold water. No water, no snow. The most prominent example of this is Antartica, the south pole. The precipitation at the south pole is minimum, to the extent that it is categorized as a desert. The precipitation that falls does not melt readily.

Harold Myron


Barbie-

The temperature of the air affects the amount of water vapor it can hold. Colder air holds less water. To have a significant snow, you need significant water vapor in the air. At temperatures well below freezing there is not enough water in the air to get much snow.

The exception to this is in places on the lee side of a large body of water. Here the air need not hold much water, but only keep blowing.

Larry Krengel


Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory