Tea was looking like a winter wonderland last Saturday morning. This was all thanks to an unusual weather phenomenon called ‘hoarfrost.’
According to the National Weather Service, the official and technical definition for hoarfrost is the following, “A deposit of interlocking crystals formed by direct sublimation on objects, usually those of small diameter freely exposed to the air, such as tree branches, plants, wires, poles, etc. The deposition of hoarfrost is similar to the process by which dew is formed, except that the temperature of the frosted object must be below freezing. It forms when air with a dew point below freezing is brought to saturation by cooling.”
To simplify things, hoarfrost is caused by a unique combination of ingredients that all come together at the right time. Hoarfrost gets its start when an object is below freezing. The air touching the object has to be quite damp. When the damp air is cooled down, condensation then happens and then water vapor rapidly condenses into ice on the cold object. In addition, little to no wind is necessary to help this type of frost to form.
The result of this perfect mix of ingredients is a stunning blanket of sharp and white crystals plastered all over objects.
(Photo by Michael Bauman)
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