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Author Topic: How would this area (scientifically) be under snow fall almost constantly?  (Read 2204 times)

Offline Voxx

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If you had a valley on the east side of a continent with high mountains on the north, west, and south side.  Dark clouds continually above and almost constant snowfall.

How would a worlds atmospheric qualities, elevation, and temperature regions be used to cause such a phenomenon?

Would there have to be a strong winds and of what temperature to keep the snow from pilling up?  Could the temperature remain warm enough to slowly melt or a warm breeze swoops in from some air current to melt a lot of the snow, but somehow keep the overcast skies?

I'm trying to look for an explanation for a valley that is never without clouds, never showing the blue sky.  Any help would be appreciated!


 

Offline CliffordK

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Constant snowfall without "buildup" might be on a large glacier. 

One thing that happens in Antarctica, for example, is that the ice is heated from below by geothermal heat, so there is actually a network of lakes and streams under the sheet of ice as the land-locked glaciers slowly melt from below.  The ice acts as an insulator for the geothermal heat below.  Antarctica, also has much lower snowfall than one might otherwise expect, and has been considered to have desert conditions.

As far as seasons, with the tilt of the earth, the area north of the arctic circle, or south of the antarctic circle will essentially have 24 hour darkness in the winter (and be bitter cold), and 24 hour sunlight during the summer, and may in fact experience spring/summer like weather (although central Antarctica never gets truly warm).

If a planet had zero axial tilt with respect to its parent star, then the seasons would go away, and the weather would be more or less constant year around.  Northerly or Southerly regions could have constant cold weather while equatorial regions would have constant warm weather.

In the winter around here, under the right conditions it is not uncommon for it to be snowing, but the snow not "sticking".  Or, perhaps we'll get some overnight snow that will melt by the end of the day.  Part of what happens is that the cloud level of the atmosphere is often (usually?) cold enough to form ice or snowflakes.  These often melt before hitting the ground, but under the right conditions, the snowflakes don't melt until hitting the ground.

Also, keep in mind that it is usually colder at the higher elevations, so it is not uncommon to experience snow in the mountains and rain in the valley.

The East and West USA have very different weather patterns.  In the East, it usually rains a couple of times a week year-around.  In the West, it can be cloudy most of the time from October to March, and rain (or snow) almost every day, then it clears up and is sunny from mid June to late September with almost no rainfall in July and August.

Incidentally, one of the worst floods to hit Oregon and Northern California was an unusually high snowfall (for Oregon), in December followed by a warm, heavy rain in late December, 1964 which melted all the snow, plus the rain at the same time, plus the frozen ground didn't soak up the rain, but rather there was excessive runoff.
« Last Edit: 03/08/2013 06:18:13 by CliffordK »
 

Offline Voxx

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That's all very good information, but what I'm looking for is a scientific explanation for a world that has 24 hour darkness, but during the warmer seasons (when the sun does come out) has constant thick cloud cover with warm enough temperature that the snow may stick a little, but melts over time.

I don't think I can go with the iceberg idea (it is cleaver though...even if it is a true worldly function).

I was thinking about an area where high atmospheric winds carried a consistent rain/snow pattern from extreme heat conditions over a certain part of the ocean that causes a very large evaporation rate in that particular area, thus creating the heavy conditions.  However, I'm at a loss to what temperature it's needed to keep these conditions, speed of the wind, and times of a particular year.  How far away this boiling like conditions take place or if they should be sun related or geothermal upheaval?

Any ideas on this?
 

Offline RD

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... what I'm looking for is a scientific explanation for a world that has 24 hour darkness ... Any ideas on this?

What about a planet which was tidally locked with its sun : so the same side of the planet always faced the sun and the other side was in permanent darkness. 
« Last Edit: 03/08/2013 18:34:06 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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I think it would be hard to have an entire planet with cold weather, and also experiencing hot spots and snowfall events...
Well, unless there was some kind of geothermal geyser pushing water into the atmosphere, only to fall elsewhere.

One Earth, you might look at the Pineapple Express.  I haven't watched weather patterns a lot, but I believe quite a bit of the Northwest rainfall originates in the south Pacific.  However, it also tends to bring somewhat more mild weather to the Northwest. 

Polar winds bring the cold weather, but not always ice and snow.

Weather patterns do shift somewhat, but perhaps there could be natural geologic structures that would channel the weather.  The Columbia Gorge frequently is buffeted by high winds (and is popular among wind surfers), and now also wind turbines.  The North Pole generally has a cyclone somewhere nearby.  And, of course, on Jupiter, the "Red Spot" is one of the longest lasting hurricanes ever observed, although it isn't associated with any geologic formations.
 

Offline Voxx

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Thanks for the advice, but I've decided to try and take it a different way.  How about this?

Newfoundland is what I've been looking at for the last few hours. Studying up on its climate. It is considered the foggiest place on earth, I believe an average of 210 days a year have clouded conditions.

I suspect that there will be continually varying precipitation density with cyclones, but it should be fairly heavy (I think).

I'm thinking about contrast thermal winds that collide near this designated area and cycling wind that blows it into the valley. Then the mountain wind keeps it bunched into the valley. There can be some volcanic activity along the shelf (which I THINK will promote a healthy aquatic environment), but I'm not sure the effects it would have overall.

With the chill. I think it needs to be at least 33 degrees, but not hot enough to reach a maximum of 75. I know that must be a tough if not impossible order. Any holes people would like to punch into the idea?
 

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