Snow grains are a form of precipitation. Snow grains are characterized as very small (<1 mm), white, opaque grains of ice that are fairly flat or elongated. Unlike snow pellets, snow grains do not bounce or break up on impact. Usually, very small amounts fall, mostly from stratus clouds or fog, and never fall in the form of a shower.
The METAR code for snow grains is SG.
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. In addition, macroscopic single crystals are usually identifiable by their geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography. The process of crystal formation via mechanisms of crystal growth is called crystallization or solidification.
Frost is a thin layer of ice on a solid surface, which forms from water vapor in an above freezing atmosphere coming in contact with a solid surface whose temperature is below freezing, and resulting in a phase change from water vapor to ice as the water vapor reaches the freezing point. In temperate climates, it most commonly appears on surfaces near the ground as fragile white crystals; in cold climates, it occurs in a greater variety of forms. The propagation of crystal formation occurs by the process of nucleation.
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain, a cover crop and a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe (Triticeae) and is closely related to barley and wheat (Triticum). Rye grain is used for flour, bread, beer, crisp bread, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder. It can also be eaten whole, either as boiled rye berries or by being rolled, similar to rolled oats.
An avalanche is an event that occurs when a cohesive slab of snow lying upon a weaker layer of snow fractures and slides down a steep slope. Avalanches are typically triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack when the forces of the snow exceed its strength but sometimes only with gradual widening. After initiation, avalanches usually accelerate rapidly and grow in mass and volume as they entrain more snow. If the avalanche moves fast enough, some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type of gravity current.
Freezing rain is the name given to rain maintained at temperatures below freezing by the ambient air mass that causes freezing on contact with surfaces. Unlike a mixture of rain and snow, ice pellets, or hail, freezing rain is made entirely of liquid droplets. The raindrops become supercooled while passing through a sub-freezing layer of air hundreds of meters above the ground, and then freeze upon impact with any surface they encounter, including the ground, trees, electrical wires, aircraft, and automobiles. The resulting ice, called glaze ice, can accumulate to a thickness of several centimeters and cover all exposed surfaces. The METAR code for freezing rain is FZRA.
In meteorology, a virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation falling from a cloud that evaporates or sublimates before reaching the ground. A shaft of precipitation that does not evaporate before reaching the ground is a precipitation shaft. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating; this is often due to compressional heating, because the air pressure increases closer to the ground. It is very common in deserts and temperate climates. In North America, it is commonly seen in the Western United States and the Canadian Prairies. It is also very common in the Middle East, Australia, and North Africa.
A winter storm is an event in which varieties of precipitation are formed that only occur at low temperatures, such as snow or sleet, or a rainstorm where ground temperatures are low enough to allow ice to form. In temperate continental climates, these storms are not necessarily restricted to the winter season, but may occur in the late autumn and early spring as well. Very rarely, they may form in summer, though it would have to be an abnormally cold summer, such as the summer of 1816 in the Northeastern United States.
Sastrugi, or zastrugi, are sharp irregular grooves or ridges formed on a snow surface by wind erosion, saltation of snow particles, and deposition, and found in polar regions and open sites such as frozen lakes in cold temperate regions. The ridges are usually perpendicular to the prevailing winds; they are steep on the windward side and sloping to the leeward side. Smaller irregularities of this type are known as ripples or wind ridges.
A crystallite is a small or even microscopic crystal which forms, for example, during the cooling of many materials. The orientation of crystallites can be random with no preferred direction, called random texture, or directed, possibly due to growth and processing conditions. Fiber texture is an example of the latter. Crystallites are also referred to as grains. The areas where crystallites meet are known as grain boundaries. Polycrystalline materials, or polycrystals, are solids that are composed of many crystallites of varying size and orientation.
A dirt cone is a type of depositional glacial feature. Dirt cones are not actually made entirely of dirt. They have a core of ice, snow, or firn that gets covered with material and insulated. The material, if it is thick enough, will protect the underlying core from ablation. The thickness of material needed to insulate the core is called the “critical thickness.” If the material is less thick than the critical thickness, it will actually speed up erosion of the core through ablation. This is called “indirect ablation.” The cone would then begin melting and shrinking away.
A windrow is a row of cut (mown) hay or small grain crop. It is allowed to dry before being baled, combined, or rolled. For hay, the windrow is often formed by a hay rake, which rakes hay that has been cut by a mowing machine or by scythe into a row, or it may naturally form as the hay is mown. For small grain crops which are to be harvested, the windrow is formed by a swather which both cuts the crop and forms the windrow.
A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind, picking up material along the way, in much the same way that the large snowballs used in snowmen are made. They can be as small as a tennis ball, but they can also be bigger than a car. Most snow rollers are a few inches/centimeters wide.
A silo is a structure for storing bulk materials. Silos are used in agriculture to store grain or fermented feed known as silage. Silos are commonly used for bulk storage of grain, coal, cement, carbon black, woodchips, food products and sawdust. Three types of silos are in widespread use today: tower silos, bunker silos, and bag silos.
Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals and rock. A clast is a fragment of geological detritus, chunks and smaller grains of rock broken off other rocks by physical weathering. Geologists use the term clastic with reference to sedimentary rocks as well as to particles in sediment transport whether in suspension or as bed load, and in sediment deposits.
Classifications of snow describe and categorize the attributes of snow-generating weather events, including the individual crystals both in the air and on the ground, and the deposited snow pack as it changes over time. Snow can be classified by describing the weather event that is producing it, the shape of its ice crystals or flakes, how it collects on the ground, and thereafter how it changes form and composition. Depending on the status of the snow in the air or on the ground, a different classification applies.
A snowflake is a single ice crystal that has achieved a sufficient size, and may have amalgamated with others, then falls through the Earth's atmosphere as snow. Each flake nucleates around a dust particle in supersaturated air masses by attracting supercooled cloud water droplets, which freeze and accrete in crystal form. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity zones in the atmosphere, such that individual snowflakes differ in detail from one another, but may be categorized in eight broad classifications and at least 80 individual variants. The main constituent shapes for ice crystals, from which combinations may occur, are needle, column, plate, and rime. Snow appears white in color despite being made of clear ice. This is due to diffuse reflection of the whole spectrum of light by the small crystal facets of the snowflakes.
CI chondrites, sometimes C1 chondrites, are a group of rare stony meteorites belonging to the carbonaceous chondrites. Samples have been discovered in France, Canada, India, and Tanzania. Compared to all the meteorites found so far, their chemical composition most closely resembles the elemental distribution in the sun's photosphere.
A powder is a dry, bulk solid composed of many very fine particles that may flow freely when shaken or tilted. Powders are a special sub-class of granular materials, although the terms powder and granular are sometimes used to distinguish separate classes of material. In particular, powders refer to those granular materials that have the finer grain sizes, and that therefore have a greater tendency to form clumps when flowing. Granulars refers to the coarser granular materials that do not tend to form clumps except when wet.
Volcanic ash consists of fragments of rock, minerals, and volcanic glass, created during volcanic eruptions and measuring less than 2 mm (0.079 inches) in diameter. The term volcanic ash is also often loosely used to refer to all explosive eruption products, including particles larger than 2 mm. Volcanic ash is formed during explosive volcanic eruptions when dissolved gases in magma expand and escape violently into the atmosphere. The force of the gasses shatters the magma and propels it into the atmosphere where it solidifies into fragments of volcanic rock and glass. Ash is also produced when magma comes into contact with water during phreatomagmatic eruptions, causing the water to explosively flash to steam leading to shattering of magma. Once in the air, ash is transported by wind up to thousands of kilometres away.
The July 1 Glacier or Qiyi Glacier is a glacier in Jiayuguan City, Gansu, China, and on the northern slope of the Tola Mountain in the Qilian Mountains. It is the closest glacier to cities in Asia, but it has been shrinking in recent years. This glacier was discovered by a geological worker of the Lanzhou Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a glacier scholar of the Soviet Union on July 1, 1958. The glacier is on a hillside with a slope that is less than 45 degrees. The elevation of the ice peak is 5158.8 meters, and the elevation of the front edge of the ice tongue is 4304 meters. The average thickness of the ice layer of the glacier is 78 meters, and the thickest part can even reach 120 meters. The total length of the July 1 glacier is 3.5 kilometers, and the widest place is 2.4 kilometers. There are 160 million cubic meters of water storage. The Tourist Area in the July 1 Glacier covers about 4 square kilometers.
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