Where Does Snow Go When It Melts?

Quck answer

When snow melts, it goes through a process called melting, where the solid ice changes into liquid water. The melted snow then follows the natural water cycle. It can evaporate and become water vapor, which rises into the atmosphere. This water vapor can condense and form clouds. Eventually, the condensed water droplets in the clouds can fall back to the ground as precipitation, such as rain or snow. So, when snow melts, it becomes part of the water cycle, continuing its journey as water in various forms.

Lately, in Wonderopolis, we have been experiencing a significant amount of snow. We have been having a great time engaging in various snow activities such as sledding, making snow ice cream, playing hockey with friends, ice skating, and building snowmen. Due to the abundance of snow, we have created a large population of snowmen in Wonderopolis, approximately 24,387!

Even though it is getting crowded in Wonderopolis, we are not concerned because when the weather becomes warmer, the number of snowmen will decrease. Wondering where they go? Continue reading to find out…

Snow is a solid form of water, and it melts when the temperature rises above 32ยบ F. When the Sun shines and warms the Earth, snow begins to melt and transform into runoff. This runoff can either seep into the ground to nourish plants or flow into lakes, streams, rivers, and other bodies of water if the ground is already saturated with water. Once it turns into liquid, snow starts its journey through the water cycle.

The water cycle involves the movement of water from land and bodies of water into the atmosphere and then back to land and bodies of water. The three main steps of the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

The Sun’s heat causes water on land and bodies of water to evaporate and turn into a gas called water vapor. As vapor, the water rises high into the atmosphere, cools down, and forms clouds through a process known as condensation.

When the clouds become too saturated with water, the water falls back to Earth in the form of precipitation. Depending on the temperature, this precipitation can be in the form of rain, snow, or ice. Once it reaches Earth, the whole process starts all over again. That’s why it is called the water CYCLE. It continues endlessly!

Try It Out

We hope you enjoyed discovering how Mother Nature recycles snow in today’s Wonder of the Day. Keep the learning going by trying out one or more of the following enjoyable activities with a friend or family member:

Is it currently the Winter season where you are located? Is there a layer of snow covering the ground? If so, get ready to conduct a simple experiment that will test your mathematical abilities. Retrieve a tape measure and designate an area in the snow that is shaped like a square and measures 10 feet on each side. Before commencing the experiment, make a prediction about the amount of water you believe exists in the 10-foot square of snow. It would be helpful to measure the depth of the snow to assist with your estimation. To assess the quantity of water present in your square in the form of snow, excavate a section of snow that measures one square foot on each side. Transfer that snow indoors and place it in the bathtub. Ensure that you first insert the stopper in the drain! Allow the snow to melt and then employ a measuring cup from the kitchen to determine the volume of water in the tub. Multiply your result by 100 to calculate the amount of water in the large square you marked outside. How accurate was your initial prediction?

Were you aware that you can also recycle snow on your own? It’s true! When it snows, not only can you engage in sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen, but you can also utilize the snow to make some delectable treats to share with your friends and family members. One of our preferred treats is Snow Ice Cream. Click on the link to access a recipe for snow ice cream. Have a great time creating this incredibly tasty treat the next time it snows!

No snow on the ground at the moment? Not an issue! Partner up with a friend or family member and go online to explore these enjoyable science experiments that will enhance your understanding of how water transitions from a liquid to a solid or a gas:

– Creating Your Own Water Cycle

– Ice to Water to Steam


1. Where does snow go when it melts?

When snow melts, it turns into water, which can go in a few different directions. Some of the melted snow may evaporate into the air, especially if the temperature is warm. This water vapor can then join the water cycle, condensing into clouds and eventually falling back to the Earth as precipitation. Additionally, the melted snow may also seep into the ground, replenishing groundwater supplies. In some cases, the melted snow may flow into nearby rivers, lakes, or streams, contributing to the overall water supply. Ultimately, the destination of melted snow depends on various factors such as temperature, humidity, and the landscape it is melting on.

2. Does all the snow melt into water?

Yes, when snow melts, it transforms into water. However, the rate at which snow melts can vary depending on factors like temperature, sunlight, and wind. In some cases, snow may go through a process called sublimation, where it changes directly from a solid to a gas without becoming liquid water. This occurs when the snow is exposed to dry air and skips the liquid phase. However, the majority of snow does melt into water, which can then follow different paths as described earlier.

3. Can snow disappear without melting?

Snow generally disappears by melting, but there are a few other ways it can seemingly disappear without melting completely. One way is through a process called sublimation, where the snow turns directly into water vapor without melting into liquid water. This can happen in very cold and dry conditions, where the snow evaporates into the air before it has a chance to melt. Another way snow can disappear is through wind erosion. Strong winds can blow snow away, causing it to be redistributed or carried to different areas, giving the impression that it has vanished.

4. Why does snow melt faster in some areas than others?

The rate at which snow melts can vary from one area to another due to several factors. One of the main factors is temperature. In warmer regions, snow will generally melt faster than in colder regions. Sunlight also plays a role, as snow exposed to direct sunlight will absorb more heat and melt faster. Additionally, factors such as wind, humidity, and the type of surface the snow is on can affect the rate of melting. For example, snow on dark surfaces like asphalt or soil will absorb more heat and melt faster than snow on lighter surfaces like grass or ice.

5. Can snow melt even in below-freezing temperatures?

Yes, snow can still melt even in below-freezing temperatures. While the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), the temperature at which snow melts can be influenced by various factors. For example, if the air is very dry, snow can undergo a process called sublimation and turn directly into water vapor without melting into liquid water, even at below-freezing temperatures. Additionally, if the snow is exposed to direct sunlight or is subjected to warm winds, it can still melt despite the air temperature being below freezing.

6. What happens to snow that falls in warmer climates?

In warmer climates, snowfall is less common, but when it does occur, the fate of the snow depends on the prevailing conditions. If the temperature remains above freezing, the snow will likely melt relatively quickly. In some cases, the snow may not have a chance to accumulate on the ground and will simply melt upon contact. If the temperature drops below freezing after the snowfall, the snow may stick around for a little longer, but it will eventually melt or evaporate as the temperature rises again. Snow in warmer climates tends to be a temporary occurrence, unlike in colder regions where it can accumulate and persist for longer periods.

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