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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Rime & Graupel

By November 24, 2013

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Snowflake with Rime (USDA BARC)
Snowflake with Rime (USDA BARC)

Do you know what rime and graupel are? No, they aren't a law firm or something you do when you are refinishing furniture. Rime and graupel are types of snow! Rime occurs when snow crystals encounter supercooled water droplets. The supercooled water turns into tiny ice balls on the surface of the crystal. The ice balls grow by accretion until the original crystal is completely covered in rime. At this point, the rimed crystal is called graupel. Graupel can act like icy ball bearings, allowing layers of snow to slip against each other, which can result in an avalanche if the conditions are right. Otherwise, graupel is the snow that feels like ice pellets when it hits you, basically because that's what graupel is.

Graupel (USDA BARC)
Graupel (USDA BARC)


November 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm
(1) Newlyweds Guide Francesca says:

Now that is spectacularly cool! Let it snow!

November 25, 2013 at 12:24 am
(2) Yousef Abuobaid says:

Rime is very bad . It spil farm plants . I prefer Dr . to mentions its bad effects on leaves of the plants as well as potato .

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