Friday, 23 January 2009

Hoarfrost




This interesting photo is taken of a hoarfrost night in Brandon, Manitoba. It is as if the moist frigid air transcends the picture itself. This is the time of year, on the Canadian prairies, the humidity accompanies the cold fronts leaving drivers to bitterly complain when their vehicles' windshield wipers and defrost systems do not completely, if at all, disperse the frost left on the windshields. The outside temperatures will be frigid, often -30C and colder, complete with windchill factors. While walking on snowy streets or sidewalks, boots will squeak at each step.




Photo Credit: dexotaku CC=nc-nd-flickr.

25 comments:

REDLAN said...

great shot!

Barbara Martin said...

Redlan, it is indeed.

Reader Wil said...

It is a very great photo and it looks very cold . While reading this I am shivering on my couch, where I always sit computering.

Hagelrat said...

Gorgeous! I love frost!

RuneE said...

I have never heard the expression "Hoarfrost" before, but I understand what it is and have experienced it. I like the picture with the light streaming from above.

Dark Wolf said...

It is a very nice photo. And it is nice to see it behind the computer screen in a warm and cozy place :)

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Minus 30C?! I would hibernate! It looks beautiful though ...

debra said...

It is a beautiful photograph. It surely conveys the silence and the cold.

Marian said...

Whenever I'm shivering at a bus stop in Toronto, I remind myself it could be much colder.

Sekhar said...

That was an excellent shot. Seems like taken straight from a movie.

BernardL said...

Just looking at it makes me cold.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very eerie

Teresa said...

I love this picture, Barbara, especially enlarged to full screen. What is the difference between hoarfrost and regular frost?

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

I've been in places such as in the photo. The silence is spooky -- as though you are alone in the world.

bindu said...

That sounds coooold! The picture is so moody. I love the snow - it cheers me up.

Barbara Martin said...

Wil, then the photographer chose well.

Hagelrat, welcome and thanks for stopping by. I like frost too, when it's decorating my windows.

RuneE, the light provides an eerie effect.

Barbara Martin said...

Mihai, when I chose this photo to post the winds had come up outside rattling the windows. Now Toronto's streets are ice covered after a balmy two days, and back down to -13C.

Raph, the winter temperatures on the prairies can drop down to -55C combined with windchill factors. No human or animal should be out in temperatures like that. Though I was one winter, but will leave that for another post.

After the fog has dispersed all the trees, electrical wire lines, houses, cars, and whatever has been exposed during the night or day will be covered in exquisite ice crystals: some extremely long and delicate depending on how much moisture crystalized.

Barbara Martin said...

Debra, the photograph brings flickers of story ideas: of why a person would be outside at night in ice fog on a cold winter night.

Marian, you must dress in layers to trap your body heat. If this is your first winter here, then I sympathize. I recommend wearing wool over a cotton or polyester sweater if it doesn't make you itch. Please tell me you wear tights under your slacks.

Barbara Martin said...

Sekhar, it speaks volumes.

Bernard, now you will be ready for spring.

Charles, I agree. It would be a perfect start for a short story. I've been thinking of hosting a few contests.

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, ahh the trick question.

Hoar-frost is, technically, the delicate icy structure which forms when the air cools and the water condenses. The same way that regular frost forms; although the hoar frost I have experienced comes from an ice fog. There are several other types of frost including ground frost and air frost.

The hoar-frost I am referring to is related to an ice fog that is produced when warmer air moves into an area where the temperatures have already been extremely cold. On the prairies the skies can be clear for weeks at a time where frigid air remains over snow covered areas. On January 5th this year, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan experienced ice fog with temperatures of -45C.

Wikipedia has an excellent explanation:

“Ice fog is any kind of fog where the droplets have frozen into extremely tiny crystals of ice in midair. Generally this requires temperatures at or below −35 °C (−30 °F).... It is most often seen in urban areas where it is created by the freezing of water vapor present in automobile exhaust and combustion -products from heating and power generation. Urban ice fog can become extremely dense and will persist day and night until the temperature rises. Extremely small amounts of ice fog falling from the sky form a type of precipitation called ice crystals.”

Barbara Martin said...

Chris, the travelling man has come north. I agree it can be very spooky on a cold winter's night.

Bindu, that's because you're in a warmer climate.

Lana Gramlich said...

I've got that beat. I once worked 13 hour night shifts in the Winter w/in a stone's throw of Niagara Falls. My car was incased in 1/2" of solid ice at the end of every shift. Unfortunately I didn't realize this would be an issue at first & my scraper was safe & sound, encased in the trunk. Fortunately there was a hammer on hand. I had to use the claw end to bust my way into the car!

Barbara Martin said...

Lana, of course the spray from the Niagara River would cover anything within reach.

Teresa said...

Barbara, Thank you for explaining hoarfrost to me. I've read the term, but never knew how it differed from other types of frost. It sounds very cold, and I am quite happy to look at your lovely pictures of winter while enjoying the balmy weather of southern California. Being cold in the imagination is so much more fun than actually freezing.

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, in temperatures this cold it is very easy to acquire frostbite or hypotehermia unless dressed warmly. If you are ever in a snowbelt area I recommend putting a layer of facial cream on before going out to keep the surface cells protected, otherwise they dry out quickly.