What can you do when it is –30’c with a –40’c windchill… you toss tea! Why you ask, to make snow of coarse! When you throw hot water into the air when it is very cold it turns instantly into snow! If you try it with cold water on a cold day it will just stay water. If you curious to the science behind it I found this great article which explains it very well.
Mark Seeley, a climatologist at the University of Minnesota, explains the phenomenon. He said:
"When it's cold outside, there's hardly any water vapor present in the air, whereas boiling water emits vapor very readily that's why it's steaming. When you throw the water up in the air, it breaks into much smaller droplets, so there's even more surface for water vapor to come off of.
"Now, cold air is very dense, and this makes its capacity to hold water vapor molecules very low. There's just fundamentally less space for the vapor molecules. So when you throw the boiling water up, suddenly the minus 22 air has more water vapor than it has room for. So the vapor precipitates out by clinging to microscopic particles in the air, such as sodium or calcium, and forming crystals. This is just what goes into the formation of snowflakes."
So being the science geeks that my husband and I are we had to try this. It was also a great opportunity for me to take some cool pictures!
You can also see we only have a few centimeters of snow on the ground too. This is not normal, we usually have a least a 30 cm by now. But this does make it easier to run around out on the ice though.
We put white lights on one of our evergreens by the lake again this year and it really makes for a lovely display.