Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's new learning

Illustration from here
Wet snow that has gone through repeated melt-freeze cycles is often called Corn Snow. Under Corn Snow or Melt-Freeze conditions, a crust forms on the surface that will support your weight when frozen, but turns to deep slush during the heat of the day.
--From www.avalanche.org

I am a weather wimp. I acknowledge it, have never denied it, and am not ashamed of it. Until August 2006 I have lived my entire life in a Mediterranean climate where winter has rarely meant more than tule fog with a visibility of about 25 feet and summer could mean 115 degrees with almost no humidity and everyone had the sense to stay indoors. I have generally lived where wind stays below 40 mph with few exceptions and, in the Bay Area, I enjoyed temperatures that mostly stayed between 55 and 85. Snow of any kind came along every few decades and was a cause of major excitement (and disappeared quickly). I had to ponder seriously moving to Albuquerque where the temperature gets below freezing more than a few days a year and where snow does not always melt by tomorrow.

So, I am a bear of limited weather experience.

That is fine with me. I do not crave climatic extremes.

This morning as I drove to work I saw small bits of what was obviously frozen water landing lightly on my car. They were bright white, the size of pinheads, and resembled fine pellets of styrofoam in their behavior.

"Is this some kind of snow," I thought, "or does it have some other name?"

A coworker told me it was "corn snow."

Never heard of it. But there's Google.

So we have the illustration above. When I walked to lunch the sun was shining, sort of, and I saw pea-sized pellets of corn snow on the ground, sprinkled on bushes, and nestling amid pine needles. Alas, I did not have my camera with me.

And that's the story of what I learned "at school" today.
--the BB


it's margaret said...

Corn snow. How cool is that! I hope you played in it a little. Collect some and put it in the frig for mid-August.... enjoy!

Hah! WV is "ensoggew" --don't know why that tickles me, but it does... perhaps because it describes the feeling of corn snow getting between your socks and shoes....

Paul said...

Well, Margaret, I'm clearly not the type to go for being ensogged - to which I can only reply, Ew! I like my feet nice and dry, warm in winter and cool in summer, thanks all the same.

I did want to save some little kernels of this corn but didn't.

Beautiful sunset this evening as I drove home, evocative of the light in Venice.

No, I've never been to Venice but I was profoundly moved by repeated visits to an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ages ago titled: The Golden Age of Venetian Painting. Bill and I still talk of Venetian skies when the coloring seems right.

Lindy said...

I didn't know either.