northern exposures

If you live in a very cold climate where temperatures fall way, way below zero, then you may have tossed a cup of boiling water into the air just to see what happens. Here is Lindsay doing it from out porch.

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The boiling water instantly vaporized as it was released into the frigid air. It is -38˚F outside our cabin in these pictures, a perfect kind of day for kitchen science in the Arctic!

To paraphrase climatologist Mark Seeley, who explained the phenomena for Live Science – in a warm climate, air can hold a great deal of moisture but not so in very cold ones. As air chills, it becomes denser and loses its capacity to hold water vapor.

So all that vapor released from Lindsay’s cup had no where to go and instantly froze into nearly microscopic crystals of ice.

In other words, it snowed!


15 thoughts on “Poof!

    1. Haha! Definitely safer. I let the kids try it today, but our water wasn’t hot enough and the temperature wasn’t quite as cold. We’ll try it again.

  1. Nice!….I did that after I first got here and lived in Fairbanks. In my video the water turns solid and when it hits the pavement you can see the ice pellets jumping back up!

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