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Articles on Snow

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Winter road salting is a common de-icing technique used to ensure public safety during icy winters. However, it is crucial to find sustainable and environment-friendly alternatives to road salt. (Shutterstock)

Winter road salting has year-round consequences

Salty water seeps into our soils and groundwater through surface runoff and storm-water pipes. The long-term storage of salt in the environment impacts aquatic life, infrastructure and drinking water.
In high alpine terrain, sun and dry air can turn snow straight into water vapor. Jeffrey Pang/WikimediaCommons

Snow can disappear straight into the atmosphere in hot, dry weather

As rivers run dry in the Rocky Mountains and the West, it’s easy to wonder where all the snow you see on mountain peaks goes. Some of it ends up in the air, but researchers aren’t sure how much.
Dry conditions across the West follow a hot, dry year of record-setting wildfires in 2020. Communities were left with scenes like this, from California’s Creek Fire. Amir Aghakouchak/University of California Irvine

Another dangerous fire season is looming in the Western U.S., and the drought-stricken region is headed for a water crisis

Drought conditions are so bad, fish hatcheries are trucking their salmon to the ocean and ranchers are worried about having enough water for their livestock.
A leap and a plunge into the snow could earn this arctic fox its supper. Jupiterimages/PHOTOS.com via Getty Images

How do arctic foxes hunt in the snow?

Arctic foxes have a few special talents that help them sneak up on unseen prey and pounce.
The polar vortex influences the jet stream, which can bring cold winter weather to the U.S. and Europe. AP Photo/Bill Sikes

What exactly is the polar vortex?

The media often call unusually cold, snowy storms a ‘polar vortex.’ The real polar vortex isn’t coming down to visit the lower 48, but changes to the polar vortex can influence winter weather.
Permafrost is thawing across the Arctic, releasing microbes and organic materials that have been trapped in the frozen ground for thousands of years. NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

Thawing permafrost is full of ice-forming particles that could get into atmosphere

New research shows that permafrost contains huge amounts of particles that make it easier for cloud moisture to freeze. Thawing permafrost is releasing these ice-nucleating particles.
February 1969 afforded a spot of skiing for Nottingham residents. Photographer: Nottingham Post, courtesy: Nottingham Local Studies photographic collection

How British people weathered exceptionally cold winters

Food shortages, festivities and far-off fighting – Britain's coldest winters were among its most memorable.
This Arctic heat wave has been unusually long-lived. The darkest reds on this map of the Arctic are areas that were more than 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the spring of 2020 compared to the recent 15-year average. Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

100 degrees in Siberia? 5 ways the extreme Arctic heat wave followed a disturbing pattern

The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the planet as a whole, with serious consequences. Scientists have been warning about this for decades.
They may look comfy to sit on but you’d plummet through and hit the ground. Sam Schooler/Unsplash

What would it feel like to touch a cloud?

You might have already felt what it would be like inside a cloud made of condensed water vapor.

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