Make it Snow

Street picture while snowing

Let it snow or MAKE it snow?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Winter is right around the corner! Time to get your skis waxed and skates sharpened! But what if it doesn’t snow? The problem goes deeper than winter sports. Water scarcity is becoming a big problem in many parts of the world. Less snow means less snowpack – and dwindling water resources throughout the year.

Enter Katja Friedrich and colleagues from the University of Colorado, Boulder. They wanted to bring rain to dry places.

Water needs something to grab onto to make snow. The researchers used a non-toxic, silver-based chemical. They sprayed it from a plane on a clear day. Water in the air collected around the chemical, forming snow, which melted into rain, and was measured as it hit the ground.

Results? Over TWO HUNDRED Olympic-sized swimming pools of water! SNOW kidding! This method could bring water to places that need it most!

I hope this means a guaranteed Winter Wonderland! Make it snow, make it snow, make it snow!

References: Friedrich, K., Ikeda, K., Tessendorf, S. A., French, J. R., Rauber, R. M., Geerts, B., Xue, L., Rasmussen, R. M., Blestrud, D. R., Kunkel, M. L., Dawson, N., & Parkinson, S. (2020). Quantifying snowfall from orographic cloud seeding. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(10), 5190–5195.