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Snow Science

Just how much water did we get from the Spring Blizzard of 2005?

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Just how much water did we get from the Spring Blizzard of 2005?Young scientist Jack Spangler set out with his Dad to figure outthe snow to liquid equivalent conversion... and to make a few snowangels at the same time!

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Experiment

Snow to Liquid Equivalent Conversion:
People often think of snowfall in terms of how many inches of snow accumulated after a snowfall event. Anyone who lives in an area that often receives snow knows that different snowfall events can produce snow of different densities. We can get wet, heavy snow or the very dry, powdery variety. Meteorologists and hydrologists tend to express snowfall amounts in terms of "liquid water equivalent," which is simply the amount of liquid water that you would get if you were to melt the snow. Another way of thinking about it is that the liquid water equivalent is how much rain would fall if it were warm enough for the snow to fall as liquid, instead of frozen, precipitation. A commonly used rule of thumb is that every 10 inches of snow that falls is equivalent to 1 inch of liquid water. This "10-to-1 rule" doesn't always apply, however, as the actual liquid water equivalent of snowfall varies quite a bit, depending on meteorological conditions and geographic location.

Additional Info

Days like this make you hungry...for snow ice cream! Learn how to make your own "snow-made" ice cream.

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