When you think of frosty winters, you probably picture snow, blizzards, sleet, and white wonderlands. But did you know there is a weather phenomenon that makes it appear as if the air around you is full of sparkling crystals?
Click start to play today’s Word Search, and explore cloud formations, winds, and other weather-related words.
One of the phrases in today’s puzzle – ice crystal – is a tiny speck of ice that is so small, it looks as if it is floating in air. Also called diamond dust, the crystals form on clear, cold days when there isn’t enough moisture in the air to form clouds but just enough to form crystals. The temperature usually has to dip to -25 degrees Celsius for ice crystals to form. And according to the Switzerland-based World Meteorological Organisation, the shimmering specks are best observed against the sunlight.
Ice crystals play a role in the formation of graupel, another word you can find in today’s puzzle. Graupel is also known as snow pellets or soft hail, and forms when snow in the atmosphere meets supercooled water. Imagine snow that is coated with ice crystals – that’s graupel! These fragile pellets are cloudy and often under 5mm in size. Unlike hail, which is hard as ice, graupel typically falls apart when you touch it.
Another phrase in today’s puzzle – pileus cloud – might be something you have come across when walking down the street and looking out at the sky overhead. Pileus cloud formations are shaped like caps or hoods and are often made from ice crystals. On rare occasions, you might see some iridescence within the cloud, giving it a rainbow-like appearance. If you spot pileus clouds, it might be time to grab an umbrella, because they are a good indicator of clouds growing quickly, and also signal the fact that a thunderstorm could be on the way.
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