We all rejoice in the sensation of skiing or snowboarding, but the beautiful snow that allows for such delightful diversions also loves to play its own game. In the quiet of the night, when all around are sleeping, magical formations are being created or blankets of the white stuff are falling. We awake, like children on Christmas day to be presented with such beauty.
One favourite such wintery effects is hoar frost. This is formed under clear frosty nights, when soft ice crystals form on vegetation or any object that has been chilled below freezing point by radiation cooling. This deposit of ice crystals is known as hoar frost and may sometimes be so thick that it might look like snow.
The interlocking ice crystals become attached to branches of trees, leaves, hedgerows and grass blades and are one of the most prominent features of a typical ‘winter wonderland’ day. However, the fine ‘feathers’, ‘needles’ and ‘spines’ might also be found on any other object that is exposed to supersaturated air below freezing temperature.