The science of snow

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Cheryl Murphy explains why freshly fallen snow looks white:

This is because sunlight traveling to and through the airy snow is made up of all of the colors in the visible spectrum of light. This light is scattered and reflected through the many snow crystals and flakes. The hexagonal bases of snow crystals act like thousands of prisms lying on the ground, refracting and reflecting all of the colors of the visible light. In most cases, no wavelengths or colors of light are absorbed by the snow and nearly all of the light is reflected back towards our eyes which interpret all of these reflected wavelengths together as the color white.

Jennifer Ouellette examines our understanding of the snowflake:

The higher the humidity, the more complex the shape, and if the humidity is especially high, they can even form into long needles or large thin plates. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why, but they suspect it has to do with the complex underlying physics of how water vapor molecules are slowly incorporated into the growing ice crystal — what Descartes termed the “ordinary order of Nature.” There’s still a lot of mystery in that ordinariness.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.