Ice Flowers: How Do They Arise in Terms of Weather and Physics?

Ice Flowers: Real Blooming in the Endless Ice

Our planet is filled with extraordinary phenomena, some of which have been thoroughly studied, and some remain a mystery. However, even the most studied and explicable phenomena continue to amaze with their external manifestations, sowing doubts of their reality, as it is something truly magical. In this case, we are talking about frost or ice flowers. It looks uniquely beautiful, occurs relatively infrequently, and the phenomenon itself continues to relate to something anomalous.

How Is This Miracle of Nature Formed?

Initially, there were two versions of the formation of ice flowers.

  • The first version is that the water from the air is extremely saturated with moisture, settles in the form of ice crystals on the thinnest surface of ice. The process is similar to the formation of the most ordinary hoarfrost.
  • According to the second version, sea water, saturated with salt, gradually rises along with the pores in the ice, on which salt crystals subsequently grow.

The flowering of ice flowers is as follows. As soon as the air temperature falls below –20 degrees Celsius, and the temperature of the ice stays at zero, an extremely water-saturated layer is created near the ice surface. The weather must remain windless. Water vapor, touching the icy air, instantly cooled and deposited on the ice in the form of the smallest ice crystals. Almost immediately salt forms on ice crystals, the content of which is 4 times higher than in the salty sea itself.

One More Surprise

Ice flowers appear in a matter of seconds and reach a few centimeters in length. However, the researchers were surprised when they discovered that these peaked structures are home to microorganisms.

Hollow tendrils of frost-grown flowers actively absorb moisture from the surface of the ice, which contains salts and marine microorganisms. In fact, each such flower is a temporary ecosystem, the population of living organisms in which is much higher than below the ice surface, based on the size of the ice flower and the volume of water in the Antarctic Ocean.

These snowy wonders of nature do not last long. They are formed only on the surface of the thinnest ice. But as soon as the ice becomes slightly thicker, and its temperature is slightly lower, the flowers almost immediately disappear.

The world is still full of natural and weather wonders, and to keep abreast of new discoveries and changing weather conditions, use the free weather API on your site!

Tags: weather, forecast, climate, API, ice, flowers, snow, science, sea, salt, temperature

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Pictures used in post taken from: Unsplash, Pexels

Category: Api


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