Snow on Earth
November 14, 2004 7:16 PM   Subscribe

At any given minute, is it always snowing somewhere on Earth, or are there times when there is no snow falling anywhere on the planet?

Does this answer differ with the time of year?
posted by Caviar to Science & Nature (4 answers total)
I think the permanent snow line in the Himalayas, for example, is around 5,700 meters, but I don't think there's any reason why it HAS to be snowing somewhere on Earth at all times, so I would say "no," but I'm not a climatologist.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:34 PM on November 14, 2004

The polar regions are pretty damn huge, and I'd be shocked if it weren't always snowing somewhere there.
posted by kindall at 10:47 PM on November 14, 2004

I would say that there's about six months of the year surrounding both solstices equally where it's snowing somewhere. The rest of the year it's doubtful, although there are certainly areas where there is snow-type precipitation.

kindall: a common misperception, at least about Antarctica:

Sometimes people call Antarctica a frozen desert. It hasn't rained or snowed in some places here for over 100 years. Only 4% of Antarctica thaws out in the spring -- the rest stays permanently covered in ice.

Certainly even Alaska as far as Prudhoe has a summer -- temperatures reach 80°F. It's all about the angle of the sun (the inclination of the earth, doncha know).
posted by dhartung at 11:30 PM on November 14, 2004

As someone who grew up in Minnesota, I can report that it can get too cold to snow. So, the more extreme polar regions probably don't see a whole lot of snow.
posted by samh23 at 12:48 AM on November 15, 2004

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