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Meteorology (Weather)/Question: Snowflakes

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Question
Hi,

I am a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  For my current project I am trying to measure different environmental factors that impact  the form snowflakes.  

Could you please help me to determine what different weather elements (temperature, wind, etc) help to create the pattern, size and shape of a snowflake?


Thank you,
Ashley Anise

Answer
Hi Ashley, Snowflakes usually form in the Dendritic Growth Zone, which is a layer of air with temperatures between -12 and -16C. Some books will say that the Relative Humidity in that zone must be at least 80%. As for the size and shape, that has to do with the difference in vapor pressure between water and ice, as well as conditions favorable for aggregation. Hope this helps!

David

Meteorology (Weather)

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David Moran

Expertise

I can answer questions about radar and large scale meteorology. If a question looks like homework, I won't answer it.

Experience

I have been a forecaster for many years with a specialty in severe weather.

Organizations
Full Member, American Meteorological Society

Education/Credentials
BS in Meteorology, University of Oklahoma BA in Mathematics, University of Oklahoma

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