Happy: All about feelings (3)
Specifically, I am a snow scientist. I use instruments like radar and videos and images of snowfall to study the properties of snow. I do this all over the world.
You have this great observation of snow right, You say, "I observe snow when it first falls as a powder." What you're actually seeing is a collection of small crystals, and as you have ice falling in the atmosphere, the temperature and moisture of the atmosphere determines the shape of a snowflake. The result is you have this fluffy, powder-like collection of ice crystals at the surface.
Then when all those ice crystals melt, they all flatten out into a bunch of water that's all collected together. That's a much more dense material so it turns from a big fluffy pile into a flat sheet, like a puddle.
And then when that refreezes that block is much denser than the snow crystals that fall out of the air. The powder becomes liquid or the crystals become liquid and then that liquid freezes as an ice slab.
You can't actually reform these crystals once they're on the surface. You have a snowstorm that produces ten inches of snow. If you were to melt down those ten inches into water, you would have one inch of water. So we went from snow which was 10:1. Then we went to water which is 1:1. Then that water froze as an ice block which is approximately 1:1. It's all about the change in density.
Molly: This list of names makes me so very happy. This is the Brains Honor Roll. These are the lovely listeners who share their brilliance with us in the form of questions, ideas, mystery sounds and drawings. We love you.
Molly: We'll be back soon with more answers to your questions!
DaCari: Thanks for listening!