The sound of snow

Living in a country that spends much of the time in sub-zero temperatures, I’m slowly learning all about snow and ice. One of the big surprises for me was hearing snow under (very) cold conditions – have a listen to my short clip below if you’re unfamiliar with the squeaking sound of snow at -15°C…



According to the NSIDC this sound is caused by grains of snow rubbing against each other – and because the friction between snow grains is greater at lower temperatures (which is also why cross-country skiing is more work on colder days) the loudest noise is created when it is chilliest. See the NSIDC’s questions and answers page for lots of other interesting bits and pieces. Another website (Everything2) suggests that a good rule-of-thumb is that snow starts to crunch (or squeak) below about -10°C. So when your walking is noisy enough that you notice it… you know it is pretty cold outside!


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