What is snow? Weather – Earth science

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Snowing in the forest

If it’s colder, rain may fall as snow.

About two and a half billion years ago, the Earth finally cooled down enough for it to snow for the first time. Most of the time since then, the Earth has been warm enough that it didn’t snow at all. But from time to time, the Earth becomes cooler, entering an Ice Age. We are in one of these Ice Ages now, though not at the coldest part of an Ice Age, and so it snows sometimes, in some places. But it doesn’t snow as much as it would in the coldest part of an Ice Age.

When water evaporates into the sky and forms clouds, usually the clouds soon form into tiny balls of ice and fall, melting into raindrops as they come down to the ground.

Himalayas: tall mountains with snow on top

Himalaya Mountains

Snowflakes, because they are made of ice, are really little crystals.

Snow usually falls either in the winter (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere) or in the summer (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) or on top of high mountains, where snow often lasts all year round. Near the Equator, it doesn’t snow at all, except on the very highest mountains.

Learn by Doing – Snow
More about Rain
More about Weather
Learn by doing – Seasons

Bibliography and further reading about weather:


Learn by Doing – Clouds
More about clouds
More about Thunderstorms
More about Weather
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By |2018-04-24T14:32:37+00:00August 20th, 2017|Physics|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. What is snow? Weather – Earth science. Quatr.us Study Guides, August 20, 2017. Web. December 12, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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