|Why is there no snow on the ground near the edges
of large lakes?|
|Question Date: 2013-06-24|
That is a good observation and an excellent
question. The snow near the edges of a lake
usually melts when it hits the ground. Water has
an interesting property, it takes a lot of energy
to get it to change temperature. (we call this:
specific heat capacity). So it's tough to get it
to freeze, even if the rest of the ground is below
freezing point. When it snows, often times the
ground is at or below freezing, but the water from
a lake is still somewhat warm. (Certainly above
freezing if it's still liquid). The relative
warmth from the water keeps the ground immediately
next to the lake warm, so it melts the snow when
it lands there.
If the lake is unfrozen, as wind blows air
across the lake, the air warms up a bit because
the lake water is at a higher temperature than the
air. This is usually a small effect but enough to
change the temperature in immediate vicinity
DOWNWIND, and prevent snow accumulating.
There is no snow on the ground near the edges
of large lakes because the ground is too warm and
melts the snow! Water is really good at holding
heat, and unless the lake is frozen, that large
body of water warms the ground on and near the
shore. Given a long enough period of sub-freezing
weather, however, I bet you'd find snow near the
edges of large lakes.
Click Here to return to the search form.
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.