You are here:

Meteorology (Weather)/Snow Graupel / Pellets

Advertisement


Question
It is currently snowing here in New Hampshire (not uncommon). What is slighty uncommon is the size of the snow. It seems like multiple flakes are combining and creating little chunks and larger chunks. (4cm- 16cm). What causes this? I've seen it before and am very curious about why this is so. Just interesting. Thanks!

Answer
Hi Allen

Snow flakes are created several thousand feet above ground in temperatures below freezing, sometimes, along the way to the ground they will pass through a slice of the atmosphere that is above freezing which will cause them to stick together as they then fall into a lower segment of air that is below freezing as they continue to the ground. This is what happened to your snow:

http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/261/

http://wxguys.ssec.wisc.edu/2012/03/05/how-do-large-snowflakes-form/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-snowflakes-crystal/

Another possibility is Graupel / Pellets :

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20100504/NEWS01/705049871

http://cocorahs.blogspot.com/2015/01/sorting-out-winter-precipitation.html  

Meteorology (Weather)

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Donald Rosenfeld

Expertise

Any questions (except private) answered from the 1st grade level on up pertaining to any aspect of Weather. I am a 20 year member of the American Meteorological society and a long time forecaster of eastern United States snow storms and Hurricanes.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.