In many parts of the world, snow is only an occasional annual event, and its fleeting nature seems to capture the imagination more than any other type of weather. It forms when water vapour in near-freezing temperatures condenses directly into ice crystals and these crystals join to form snowflakes, usually less than half an inch across. The pure white colour is due to the complex structure of snow crystals, which creates countless tiny surfaces from which light is reflected.Contrary to the popular notion that it can be too cold for snow, it falls even at incredibly cold temperatures as long as there is some source of moisture and some way to lift the air. Thedensity and moisture content of snow can vary; light, dry powder snow is prized by skiers and snowboarders, and is often found in the Rocky Mountains of North America and in Niseko, Japan.Though it is a permanent feature in the polar regions, sudden heavy snow in normally mild climates can cause chaos in winter.
Snow kills many hundreds of people across Europe and North America each year, mostly from traffic accidents, over-exertion and snowdrifts.
form of blizzard is a whiteout, when downdraughts coupled with snowfall
become so severe it is impossible to tell the ground from the air.
People caught in a whiteout can quickly become disoriented, losing
their sense of direction, which poses an extreme risk to pilots flying
at the altitude of the snowstorm.
The most extreme snow in
recent memory was dubbed theStorm of the Century when it hit North
America in winter 1993. It covered 26 states, reached much of Canada
and fell heavily as far south as Mexico. Highways and airports were
closed across the continent and more than 300 people died or were
reported missing at sea.
In large cities with heavy
snowfalls such as Montreal and Ottawa, which get about 90 inches each
winter, snow clearing is an important part of economic budgets. It is
estimated that Canada spends $1 billion on snow removal. In comparison,
Transport Scotland has spent more than £7.5 million on improved
clearance equipment and more monitoring stations.
advance in the US has seen some cities adopting a snowmelt system that
heats the pavement from below and melts snow and ice. The often
unpleasant effects of snow in urban areas have given rise to new
A sliver of four-billion-year-old sea floor has offered a glimpse into the inner workings of an adolescent Earth. The baked and twisted rocks, now part of Greenland, show the earliest evidence of plate tectonics, colossal movements of the planet's outer shell. Until now, researchers were unable to say when the process, which explains how oceans and continents form, began. The unique find, described in the journal Science, shows the movements started soon after the planet formed. &quo...Climate change and phenomena
Anthony North: We are facing dangers, today, from global warming. This essay is not going to argue whether this is man-made or a natural cycle as such, but is to suggest another avenue of research – into the relationship between climate and paranormal experience.Many researchers, including myself, have suggested that an environment can have an effect upon the mind. But does the present climate change offer a possibility of testing the hypothesis in action?Gaia: The idea that the Earth is a form ...Study explains rainforest similarities
Celebrated in Buddhist temples and cultivated for its wood and cottony fibers, the kapok tree now is upsetting an idea that biologists have clung to for decades: the notion that African and South American rainforests are similar because the continents were connected 96 million years ago. Research by University of Michigan evolutionary ecologist Christopher Dick and colleagues shows that kapok---and perhaps other rainforest--trees colonized Africa after the continents split when the trees' se...Did comets cause killer cold spell ?
Tiny diamonds sprinkled across North America suggest a "swarm" of comets hit the Earth around 13,000 years ago, kicking up enough disruption to send the planet into a cold spell and drive mammoths and other creatures into extinction, scientists reported on Friday.They suggest an event that wouldtranscend anything Biblical -- a series of blinding explosions in the atmosphere equivalent to thousands of atomic bombs, the researchers said.The so-called nanodiamonds are made underhigh-temperature, hi...Ancient tsunami 'hit New York'
A huge wave crashed into the New York City region 2,300 years ago, dumping sediment and shells across Long Island and New Jersey and casting wood debris far up the Hudson River. The scenario, proposed by scientists, is undergoing further examination to verify radiocarbon dates and to rule out other causes of the upheaval. Sedimentary deposits from more than 20 cores in New York and New Jersey indicate that some sort of violent force swept the Northeast coastal region in 300BC. It may ...Prehistoric jungles laughed at global warming
Evidence has been found to suggest that giant creatures such as the massive one-tonne titanoboa snake would have thrived in hot jungles millions of years ago with temperatures significantlywarmer than those seen today."Fossil boffins say that dense triple-canopyrainforests, home among other things to gigantic one-tonne boa constrictors, flourished millions of years ago in temperatures 3-5°C warmer than those seen today - as hot...Massive ice chunks break up in Antarctica
An ice shelf in western Antarctica is breaking up with huge ice chunks crumbling away and an area over 1300 square miles in danger of breaking off completely in the next few weeks."Massive ice chunks are crumbling away from a shelf inthe western Antarctic Peninsula, researchers said Wednesday, warning that 1,300 square miles of ice - an area larger than Rhode Island - was in danger of breaking off in coming weeks. . "...Prepare for another ten scorching years
Temperature records will be repeatedly shattered over the next few years, say researchers behind the first rigorous look at how global climate will change during the next decade. The prediction comes from an innovative technique that combines the approaches used by weather forecasters, who typically look a few days ahead, and climate modellers, who produce projections that run up to the end of the century. The result is a model that can project as far as 2015, filling in a long-standing gap in c... Animal Language
One of the ways most animals communicate is with sound, they may neigh, bark,
purr or quack; we speak. These auditory messages convey
meaning for the species concerned. We understand words,
horses understand neighs, dogs understand barks and so on.
Quacks don?t correspond with words, neighs
mean little to cats, but what is universal is body language.
Animals can understand the body language of their species and of others.
They usually recognize a...Global warming could change Earths tilt
It is thought that global warming could cause the Earth"s axis to tilt significantly within the next hundred years, with the rebound from melting ice sheets and the rise in sea levels both contributing to changes in the planet"s tilt."Warming oceans could cause Earth"s axis to tilt in the comingcentury, a new study suggests. . The effect was previously thought to be negligible, but researchers now say the shift will be lar...