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Fuzzy Ice

January 13, 2013

For the last three days, temperatures have dipped into the 20s over night and the air has been filled with freezing fog. Freezing fog is an interesting phenomenon because the water drops suspended in air are still liquid despite the fact that the air itself is below freezing. This occurs because water needs an impurity — essentially, a bit of dirt — around which to form ice crystals. When the water drops come in contact with a surface — the leaf of a plant, a blade of grass, the minute crags and valleys of concrete — that can act as an impurity, the drops turn to ice almost instantly.

After a deep night of freezing fog, the result is layers upon layers of frigid droplets clinging tightly together to make longer and longer thorns of ice that cover every surface. For anyone who has traversed the American Southwest, the effect can end up looking a little like teddy bear cholla — fuzzy and soft, but painful if touched.

Ice 1

Ice 2

Ice 3

Ice 4

Ice 5 small

One Comment
  1. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

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