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Science Page - Crystal Classification - January 1st, 2010


Very large, heavily rimed dendritic crystal (left) and the RUC (Rapid Update Cycle) forecast sounding (right) at time of collection.  Temperature (red) and Dewpoint (green) are displayed using BUFKIT software, which has a function to show the favorable dendritic growth zone within a sounding.  The portion of the temperature trace that is favorable for dendritic growth (-12C to -18C) is outlined in purple, if there is also enough moisture to promote growth, then the line turns yellow.  In this sounding, there is a rather shallow layer  between ~ 7500ft - 10000ft. favorable for dendritic formation, and below that a deep layer of saturated air between 0C and -12C, where supercooled water droplets likely contributed to the riming that occurred on the snow crystal.  Surface Temperature was 33F (+1C) at time of collection.


Created by Mother Nature - photographs by Tom Niziol Copyright 2009