A fun fact from NGKids :
“Bet You Didn’t Know: Twenty inches of snow equals one inch of water on average.”
Try it! Put some snow in a clear container and measure how deep it is. Then, allow it to melt. Measure how deep the remaining water is.
Now observe the melted water in a clear glass. How clear is it?
You can figure out whether your results were consistent with the NG Kids fact (10 inches of snow* should melt down to around 1/2 inch of water or 50cm of snow* should melt down to 2.5cm.)
A snow crystal is a single crystal of ice formed when the water in a cloud freezes around a microbe or piece of dust. Some have long, feathery branches, while others are small and plate-like, but they all have six sides. Snowflakes can contain several snow crystals, stuck together. Sometimes they form large clumps, creating huge, fluffy snowflakes.
The shape of snow crystals, the weather, and the surface where the snow lands all affect how much air is trapped when snow piles up. The amount of air contained in a layer of snow determines much space it takes up.
When snow melts, the snow crystals turn to water and the trapped air is released. That’s why the snow in your bucket is much deeper than the water from the melted snow.
*I’m guessing that NG Kids was referring to unpacked snow. Our kids packed the snow into containers and we go more water than we expected. Ask your kids why they think packed snow melts to give you more water than unpacked snow.