Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coloring Icicles in a (Near) Snowless Winter

Winter has passed it's halfway point and there is no snow on the ground in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.  Most of the winter has been snow-free, or at best we've had 1 to 2 inches of icy slop on the ground.  Some are calling for a snowy end to the cold season, and one computer model even forecasts a nor'easter in the future, but so far the snow remains elusive.

Icicles on buildings form when snow on roofs melts during below-freezing conditions, due to direct sunlight or more often through heat 'leaking' from inside the house.  This year, there has been essentially no snow accumulation, so icicles have only formed after our light snowfalls, and haven't grown very large.

Still, I've found enough icicles to be able to continue my icicle coloring project, albeit on a smaller scale than I hoped for.

The video above was taken of an icicle during thaw conditions.  The icicle was quickly covered in blue food coloring, but because it was above freezing, none of it stuck around.  It still made for a neat video, and next time I find one in the process of melting I'll try sequential colors.

More pictures:








Drip!  That one up there was melting fast, too.

On a melting block of ice:


and on some crystalized ice, perhaps formed as frazil ice:


Yes, I've been into blue lately.  With only a few tiny icicles to choose from, it doesn't seem necessary to use multiple colors... and blue goes well with the many red and white buildings in Vermont.

I'm hoping we get more snow and cold temperatures so I can color more icicles.  Meanwhile, you can see all of my colored icicle and runoff pictures, including the ones from last year, in this flickr set.

Oh, and remember the snow monster from previous posts?  It's not looking good.  Tomorrow's rain may switch over to snow overnight, but I doubt there's enough snow left for the monster to survive that long.

No comments:

Post a Comment