Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow
Extratropical cyclonic snowstorm, February 24, 2007—(Click for animation.)
Frontal snowsquall moving toward Boston, Massachusetts
Cold northwesterly wind over Lake Superior and Lake Michigan creating lake-effect snowfall
Freshly fallen snowflakes
An early classification of snowflakes by Israel Perkins Warren
An animation of seasonal snow changes, based on satellite imagery
New York City during a 2016 blizzard, which
 produced local wind gusts up to 42 mph and dropped 27.5 in of snow, breaking the city's one-day snowfall record.
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo, Finland
Fresh snow beginning to metamorphose: The surface shows wind packing and sastrugi. In the foreground are hoar frost crystals, formed by refrozen water vapor emerging to the cold surface.
Firn—metamorphosed multi-year snow
Snow drifts forming around downwind obstructions
A powder snow avalanche
Snowmelt-induced flooding of the Red River of the North in 1997
Snow pit on the surface of a glacier, profiling snow properties where the snow becomes increasingly dense with depth as it metamorphoses towards ice
Snowfall and snowmelt are parts of the Earth's water cycle.
Traffic stranded in a 2011 Chicago snowstorm.
Winter conditions on Ontario Highway 401 in Toronto due to a snowsquall.
Deicing an aircraft during a snow event
Satellite view of the Indus River, showing snow in the Himalayas, which feeds it, and agricultural areas in Pakistan that draw on it for irrigation.
Extreme snow accumulation on building roofs
Icings resulting from meltwater at the bottom of the snow pack on the roof, flowing and refreezing at the eave as icicles and from leaking into the wall via an ice dam.
Alpine skiing.
Algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that thrive in snow form red areas in the suncups on this snow surface
Arctic fox, a predator of smaller animals that live beneath the snow
Trucks plowing snow on a highway in Missouri
Airport snow-clearing operations include plowing and brushing
Swiss low-profile, train-mounted snowplow
Bivouac of Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the winter retreat from Moscow
Finnish ski troops during the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union
Army vehicles coping with snow during the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.
Norwegian military preparations during the 2009 Cold Response exercise
Navy SEALs training for winter warfare at Mammoth Mountain, California.

Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes.

- Snow

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Sampling the surface of a glacier. There is increasingly dense firn between surface snow and blue glacier ice.
Firn field on the top of Säuleck, Hohe Tauern

Firn (from Swiss German firn "last year's", cognate with before) is partially compacted névé, a type of snow that has been left over from past seasons and has been recrystallized into a substance denser than névé.

Cross-country skiing

Form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance.

Cross-country skiers in western Norway.
Sami hunter using skis of unequal length—short for traction, long for gliding—and a single pole. Both were employed until c. 1900. (1673 woodcut)
German Reichswehr military patrol on skis training in the Giant Mountains, January 1932.
Michal Malák skate-skis at a qualifier for the Tour de Ski, 2007.
Arctic travelers, Fridtjov Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen at the camp of Frederick Jackson on Northbrook Island in 1896.
Ski touring in untracked terrain.
Groomed ski trails for cross-country in Thuringia, track-set for classic skiing at the sides and groomed for skate skiing in the center.
Swede Anna Haag with classic technique in the women's 10 km classic race at the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Skiers employing step turns, while descending during a 2006 FIS World Cup Cross Country competition in Otepää, Estonia.
Pre-1940 ski gear in Oslo: bamboo poles, wooden skis, and cable bindings.
Cross-country ski equipment for skate-skiing (left) and classic-style skiing (right). Ski and pole lengths are different for each. Classic skis have a "grip zone" in the area under the binding.
Cross-country ski boot and standardized binding system for classic skiing. The skier clicks the toe of the boot into the binding and releases with the button in front of the boot.
An early depiction of a skier—a Sami woman or goddess hunting on skis by Olaus Magnus (1553).
Loyal retainers transporting Prince Haakon IV of Norway to safety on skis during the winter of 1206—1869 depiction by Knud Bergslien.
Olav V of Norway as crown-prince in 1939
A skate-skier in Gatineau Park, Quebec, a North American groomed-trail ski venue.
A recreational cross-country trail, groomed for classic skiing only, in Tyrol.
A blind cross-country skier with guide at a regional Ski for Light event.
Dog skijoring—dogs provide added propulsion to the cross-country skier.

Standard orienteering maps are used, but with special green overprinting of trails and tracks to indicate their navigability in snow; other symbols indicate whether any roads are snow-covered or clear.

Automatic weather station

Automated version of the traditional weather station, either to save human labour or to enable measurements from remote areas.

An Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations Project AWS in Antarctica
An RWIS station
Data-logger for automatic weather station
Enclosure with solar panel for data-logger of weather station

Also, precipitation measurements are difficult, especially for snow, as the gauge must empty itself between observations.


Névé in a valley of Haute-Savoie, France

Névé is a young, granular type of snow which has been partially melted, refrozen and compacted, yet precedes the form of ice.


Earth's southernmost continent.

Antarctica, a composite satellite image
A speculative representation of Antarctica labelled as 'Terra Australis Incognito' on Jan Janssonius's Zeekaart van het Zuidpoolgebied (1657), Het Scheepvaartmuseum
Eastern Antarctica is to the right of the Transantarctic Mountains and Western Antarctica is to the left.
Vinson Massif from the northwest, the highest peak in Antarctica
Glossopteris sp. leaf from the Permian of Antarctica
The Antarctic Plate
Pine Island Glacier, photographed in November 2011
Ice mass loss since 2002
Image of the largest hole in the ozone layer recorded, in September 2006
Emperor penguins with juveniles
Orange lichen (Caloplaca) growing on the Yalour Islands, Wilhelm Archipelago
Refuse littering the shoreline at Bellingshausen Station on King George Island, photographed in 1992
A whale in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
Adélie Land, depicted by Jules Dumont d'Urville in his Voyage au Pôle Sud (1846)
The Nimrod Expedition of 1907–1909 (left to right): Frank Wild, Ernest Shackleton, Eric Marshall and Jameson Adams
The "ceremonial" South Pole, at Amundsen–Scott Station
The U.S. delegate Herman Phleger signs the Antarctic Treaty in December 1959.
The cruise ship Silver Cloud in Wilhelmina Bay
An aerial view of McMurdo Station, the largest research station in Antarctica
An Antarctic meteorite, Allan Hills 84001 on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Glaciologists study the history and dynamics of floating ice, seasonal snow, glaciers, and ice sheets.

Wilson Bentley

American meteorologist and photographer, who was the first known person to take detailed photographs of snowflakes and record their features.

Bentley at work
Snowflake photos by Bentley, circa 1902
Bentley snowflake micrograph, 1890

He first became interested in snow crystals as a teenager on his family farm.

Shower (precipitation)

Mode of precipitation characterized by an abrupt start and end and by rapid variations in intensity.

Shower in Reignier-Esery, Haute-Savoie, France.
Vertical motion of the air parcel with a given mixing ratio resulting into a convective cloud formation.
A violent electrical storm results from convective cumulonimbus above the LCL.

A shower will produce rain if the temperature is above the freezing point in the cloud, or snow / ice pellets / snow pellets / hail if the temperature is below it at some point.

Ski wax

Vintage ski waxes, once used by U.S. Army ski troops. Left to right are: grip waxes in canisters (blue for "dry snow" and yellow for "wet and corn snow") and a paraffin glide wax.
Swedish ski racer, Martin Matsbo, pioneered development of modern cross-country ski waxes.
Conceptual representation of sliding friction over snow, as a function of water film thickness, created by passage of a ski or other slider over a snow surface.
Canister of vintage German grip wax.
Soviet-era Visti (Висти)–brand klisters, graded by color and temperature range.
Dendritic snowflake—micrograph by Wilson Bentley.
Platelets and needles, two alternate forms of snowflakes.
Fresh, dry snow with newly formed bonds, showing a grain boundary (top center).
Cluster of ice grains in wet snow at a low liquid content—grain crystals range 0.5 to 1.0 mm.
Melting glide wax onto a skate ski to be ironed in and scraped smooth.
Application of grip wax to a classic cross-country ski, using a canister of wax, like those shown in the left foreground.
Smoothing of grip wax on a classic cross-country ski, using a hand-held "cork", like the item marked "Swix" in the right foreground.

Ski wax is a material applied to the bottom of snow runners, including skis, snowboards, and toboggans, to improve their coefficient of friction performance under varying snow conditions.

Blowing snow

Visibility reduced in blowing snow during a ground blizzard

Blowing snow is snow lifted from the surface by the wind, at eye level (1.8 m) or more, that will reduce visibility.

Snow gauge

Type of instrument used by meteorologists and hydrologists to gather and measure the amount of solid precipitation over a set period of time.

A snow gauge

When snow is collected, the container is removed and replaced with a spare one.