For as long as humans have inhabited the Earth we have been both fascinated and frustrated by snow, ice and adverse weather conditions. With the invention of the microscope, the tiny mysterious crystals of ice have been brought into focus as stunningly beautiful...and still quite mysterious.
Thanks to the efforts, imaginations and talents of artic explorers and scientists, the mystery of the snowflake and ice crystal formation is becoming, well, less mysterious with each passing day. Snow crystal classification is important for determining snow conditions. For instance, very heavy snow can cause roofs of houses and buildings to cave in, make tree limbs snap and break power lines.
Ski resorts and other winter vacation spots depend upon heavy snowfall and blizzards to keep their ski slopes packed full of good, soft, skiable snow. When they don't get enough snow some resorts make their own snow with snow-making machines.
Snowstorms develop when warm, moist air collides with cold air. Blizzards are heavy falling snow storms that come with high winds that blow the snow so hard sometimes you can't see anything around you.
Blizzards are very dangerous snow conditions for people driving cars or trucks or flying in airplanes. Crystal classification helps predict such adverse conditions.
The scientists and explorers have all contributed toward our collective knowledge of snow conditions.
Teachers may use these images to teach children about the history of snowflake exploration and to introduce snowflake science and snowflake illustration.