A new scientific study has found that snow can reach the earth at up to 39F in Colorado, warmer than most other places on earth.
Scientists discovered that whilst it still needs to be freezing up in the clouds for the snow to form, flakes can make it to the Coloradan ground where temperatures can be much warmer, where they probably wouldn’t elsewhere.
The study, by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, part of the University of Colorado, explained that this was due to the dryness of the air, as much as the temperature.
The researchers analyzed nearly 18 million precipitation, temperature, and humidity data points across more than 100 countries and four continents throughout the Northern Hemisphere to reach their conclusion. They hope their findings will be factored into weather forecasting and climate modeling moving forward, which currently assumes a ground air temperature of 0C or lower is needed for snow to fall.
The process, called evaporative cooling, means that Colorado’s very dry air allows snowflakes to reach the ground even at plus temperatures. In areas where the air has a high moisture content, the reverse can be true and freezing rain falls at sub-zero temperatures.
Colorado’s snowmakers are already well aware of the unique climate conditions in their state and use them to make snow early in autumn when snowmaking would not normally work successfully.