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The Science of Snow

The Science of Snow

02 Mar 14:00 by Matthew Rollinson

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Given we’re all snowed in under this beast from the east here’s a few fun facts about snow

  • Snow isn’t white – it’s completely clear but is also translucent like the ice cubes in your freezer. As the snow accumulates it appears white due to it’s volume. Source: Met Office


  • Snow is   S L O W  …  – it falls from the sky at up to 4 miles per hour but more likely 1.5mph which according to a wonderful source www.dropzone.com skydiving forum is a survivable descent speed for a human though I don’t plan to try.  


  • It takes one and a half hours for a snowflake to reach the ground – Given I’m writing this from Manchester, this is curiously also the exact same amount of time it takes one of our local clubs to beat an Arsenal or a Chelsea (sources: met office and Premier League)



You need 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water to make a snowflake or 1018 (10 followed by 8 zero’s).


They can arrange however they want to, so imagine a lego set with that many bricks and you get the picture of the randomness that follows. Due to this, even with 1024 snowflakes being made on Earth a YEAR, the chances of there ever being two identical ones, from the time of the creation of the Earth are indistinguishable from zero, nada, nothing.


So whatever odds you get on two snowflakes being the same, do not take that bet. Write that down.


  • You can still job hunt successfully in the snow – LiCa Scientific handled several job offers this week and all were accepted for March / April starts…  though several of our interviews were actually moved to next week out of safety concerns! Ok sales plug over back to interesting stuff. (citation needed on whether this blog is interesting)


  • The 10 Snowiest places in the UK are all in the North – The Cairngorms gets 76 days a year. 76!! Or 21% of their year. (source: met office)


Hope you enjoyed that, we’re still available to discuss scientific recruitment here at LiCa Scientific anytime contact details on our website.