Snowfall and bitter winds are not the only hallmarks of winter in northern parts of the world. Image Credit: Unsplash/Chandler Cruttenden

Ocean waves are nothing out of the ordinary – but have you ever experienced sastrugi, or snow waves?

Click start to play today’s Spell It and spot the word 'wintery'.

Since it’s scorching hot in the UAE right now, a little venture into colder climes may provide some relief – at least in today’s Spell It. During periods of prolonged, frigid weather in the winter, certain parts of the world see strange phenomena occur. A blast of Arctic air sweeps across places like Canada and northern parts of the US, bringing with it bizarre but interesting weather words. Here are a few to add to your weather vocabulary:

1. Sastrugi

Snow waves or sastrugi behave similarly to their water cousins. When the wind blows across the surface of the ground, it pushes loose snow particles into drifts perpendicular to the wind’s direction. You can really appreciate the phenomenon when you take a time-lapse video of it – the sastrugi appear as waves of white across the landscape. It’s a common sight in places with sea ice, and snow-filled regions, like Antarctica.

2. Steam fog

When the Great Lakes of North America, or many of the lakes in Canada experience a cold snap, there’s a chance you can spot steam fog. Even though the open surface of the lake may just be a couple of degrees above freezing temperature, steam – aptly called ‘sea smoke’ – will rise over the water. According to The Weather Network, since the air is in its minus 20s and dry, vapour in the saturated air just above the water’s surface condenses when the wind stirs – similar to steam rising over bathwater (although that’s hopefully much warmer).

3. Slush balls

Instead of sea foam, imagine mushy balls of slush making their way to the shoreline. These softer snowballs form when the action of waves causes snow to roll over the water’s surface in clumps. They start off as small chunks of ice and grow in size as waves sweep them into other bits of snow floating on the water’s surface. Once ashore, the balls tend to freeze completely and look like little ice boulders.

What do you think of these wintery weather phenomena? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at