# How long does it take for snow to melt at 30 degrees?

How long does it take for snow to melt at 30 degrees? You would think that after a couple of days when temps ranged from the middle to the high 30s, our snowpack would be almost gone by now.

That is not going to be the case at all, as is surely obvious to anybody who has spent more than a handful of winters in Minnesota. However, if temperatures rise above freezing, why does it take our snowpack such a long time to start melting? It turns out that the solution is somewhat involved.

## How long does it take for snow to melt at 30 degrees?

You may expect that our snowfall would be almost gone by now after a few of days during which temperatures ranged from the middle to the high 30s. If you’ve spent more than a handful of winters in Minnesota, you probably already know that that’s not going to turn out to be the case. Why, therefore, does it take so long for our snowpack to melt when the temperature is consistently above freezing? To be honest, there is not a simple solution to this problem.

The formation of snow in our atmosphere, the manner in which it accumulates on the ground, and the rate at which it melts are all determined by a number of different physical qualities. It’s not quite as easy as the temperature climbing over 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Even while this is a significant factor, it is just one of approximately a dozen that determines how quickly snow melts.

The weight per cubic meter of snow. Snow that is either wet or dry. Wet snow contains a greater amount of water than dry snow does. Because of this, the amount of hours required for it to melt at temperatures higher than freezing will be altered. Air temperature. This is somewhat less of a mystery when one considers that the more the temperature is above freezing, the more rapidly it will melt in general.
Radiation from the sun: The sun emits shortwave radiation, which is what warms the earth and, as a result, the atmosphere. The quantity of solar radiation that a certain location gets is dependent not only on the sun’s angle but also on the cloud cover. The sun has to be at a greater angle for its solar radiation to be able to effectively heat whatever it is that it is in touch with, which in this instance is the snow.
The speed of the wind: The processes of melting and evaporation are more effective when the wind speed is greater, and this may lead to a quicker drop in the amount of snowpack.

Longwave radiation: The bulk of the heat that we experience comes from the sun in the form of shortwave radiation. However, many people are unaware of the fact that the Earth itself produces radiation due to the fact that its core is also fairly warm. This is a separate kind of radiation, and although it contributes to the warming of the atmosphere, it does so in a far less effective manner than other types of radiation. However, during the winter, the ground is frozen, which, together with a deep snowfall, serves as a barrier to the longwave radiation that is there. This helps to keep temperatures much lower, particularly throughout the night. Because of the blockage of longwave radiation, the snow can only melt from the top down, which makes the melting process take much longer.

The total reflectivity of an item is referred to as its albedo, and this is the phrase that is used to describe it. On this scale, values greater than 100 indicate a surface that is more reflective. The range runs from 0 to 100. The albedo of freshly fallen snow is greater than that of any other naturally occurring material found on Earth. It is possible for its albedo value to reach 99, which would indicate that 99 percent of all light (and, therefore, the sun’s warming radiation) is reflected back into space. Because of this, it is possible to obtain a sunburn in the winter, particularly if you are skiing or snowboarding. The total albedo might range anywhere from 60 to 70 if the snow is old and dirty. When moving at this speed, it is able to absorb more solar energy, and as a result, it may melt more quickly.

Even though they are substantial elements, these numerous factors cannot fully explain why it takes so long for snow to melt, despite the fact that these factors are significant. The primary reason for this is because in our environment, the transformation of a solid into a liquid requires an extraordinarily high quantity of energy. It is referred to as latent heat.

The energy that is required for a material to transform into a new state of matter is referred to as latent heat. Comparable to the transition from a solid to a liquid or from a liquid to a gas. Your thermometer will not be able to measure this particular factor. When the temperature reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice does not instantly transform into water. It takes a specific amount of time for enough energy to accumulate on the surface of the ice for the ice to transform from its solid state to that of a liquid before the change may take place. When compared to the time and energy required for heating or cooling the air, this activity requires an unexpectedly large quantity of both. When you take an ice cube out of the freezer, it does not quickly melt into liquid in your palm for the same reason. Take a look at the graph that has been provided for you by Splung.com.

The graph shows two plateaus throughout its progression. Despite the continuous infusion of additional heat, the temperature does not change at such sites. These plateaus indicate the transition from the ice phase to the water phase and subsequently from the water phase to the vapor phase. In the overall scheme of things, the amount of energy required to get that ice up to 32 degrees isn’t all that significant; but, the amount of energy required to melt that ice is far higher, and as a result, the melting process takes a significantly longer amount of time. Because of this, it takes our snow and ice a very long time to melt when the temperature eventually rises above freezing.

You now have the knowledge to respond correctly the next time someone asks you why it takes so long for our snow to melt; the reason is because of latent heat.

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