Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Snow Wells

Yesterday Dezi and I visited Vineland Research Station where she runs around chasing the scent of squirrels and rabbits. Occasionally she chases the actual squirrel.

I noticed that the trees have grass around their base rather than snow.  I had thought that tree roots give off warmth so the snow is melted around their base.  However, tells me that it is because snow has been suspended in the branches and melts into the air.  The tree trunk does get warm and radiates some of that head back out, and melts snow around the base.  It can create a 'snow well'.

"This phenomenon occurs under deciduous trees that have dropped their leaves, and even more under evergreens because they catch more snow, and the dark color of their needles helps them absorb more heat, compared to deciduous trees, which are generally lighter colored. In fact, in northern evergreen forests that get large amounts of snow, the “snow wells” around trees can be two meters (6 feet) deep or more. This represents a serious danger to hikers and skiers who sometimes fall into the wells and can’t get back out."

Our frost today comes from February 2015 during one of those polar vortex events.

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