Depending on the temperature and humidity of the air, snowflakes form a myriad of different shapes. Water vapor coats tiny dust particles, which solidify into ice crystals. Water molecules line up in a hexagonal (hexagonal) structure. The result of this process is a fabulously beautiful snowflake loved by everyone since childhood.
A newly formed snowflake is heavier than air, causing it to fall. Falling to Earth through moist air, more and more water vapor freezes and covers the surface of the crystals. The process of freezing a snowflake is very systematic. Although all snowflakes are hexagonal, the rest of the details of their patterns vary. As mentioned above, this is affected by the temperature and humidity in which the snowflake forms. Some combinations of these two factors contribute to the formation of patterns with long “needles”, while others draw more ornate patterns.
(Jericho, Vermont) became the first person to capture a photograph of a snowflake using a microscope attached to a camera. His collection of 5000 photographs amazed people with the unimaginable variety of snow crystals.
In 1952, scientists from the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) developed a system that classified the snowflake into ten basic shapes. The IACS system is still in use today, although more sophisticated systems already exist. Kenneth Libbrecht, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, has done extensive research into how water molecules form into snow crystals. In his research, he found that the most complex patterns are transformed in a humid climate. Dry air snowflakes tend to have simpler patterns. In addition, snowflakes that have fallen at temperatures below -22C are predominantly composed of simple patterns, while intricate patterns are inherent in warmer snowflakes.
According to a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, the average snowflake contains . David Phillips, senior climatologist at the Environmental Conservancy in Canada, notes that the number of snowflakes that have fallen since the Earth’s existence is 10 followed by 34 zeros.