DYK? Wonderful Window Frost

Welcome back for another year of Wildcard Weather! Albuquerque had two cold fronts move through during the past week. For most areas, that would mean measurable rain or snow. But not here in the desert, by the time the fronts reached us here in Albuquerque most of the moisture was gone. Instead we ended up with just enough moisture to produce this wonderful frost on my car windows.

Frost from my car's window. Albuquerque saw some cold, moist weather the past week.

Frost from my car’s window. Albuquerque saw some cold, moist weather the past week. The particular type of frost seen here is surface hoar.

Another shot. Such wonderful crystalline patterns!

Another shot. Such wonderful crystalline patterns!

Window frost forms just like dew, but with colder temperatures. It happens when there is sub-freezing temperatures outside the window and moist air inside (moist air caused by my own breathing during the day). Water vapor from the air condenses and freezes onto the window’s surface. Due to the high insulating quality of a double or triple-pane window, frost rarely occurs on the windows of homes. Surface hoar, a type of hoarfrost and the particular type of frost on my car that morning, occurs when the night is particularly cold. The surface (my car window) cools to the point where the moisture deposits (vapor directly to ice) on the window as ice crystals. With this process, the ice crystals form in much the same way as snowflakes do. To learn more on that process, check out my last post No two alike? Snowflake Shapes and Formation. For more helpful information from Cal Tech, visit snowcrystals.com. Bonus Learning (YES!!): Why it’s difficult for substantual moisture to reach New Mexico. new mexico rain topographical map Have a good night everyone. Don’t forget to follow on Twitter @wildcardweather ~Wildcard

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