Snowfall is a rare treat in Taiwan, and therefore, many Taiwanese have little direct experience with it. However, there are many intriguing facts about snow that even Russians, Canadians, or Mongolians may not be aware of.
Perhaps one of the most counterintuitive facts about snow is that it can actually warm you up. Because snow is made up of 90 to 95% trapped air, it has a way of insulating people—and animals—from freezing temperatures. That’s why animals bury themselves deep in the snow to hibernate during winter. In addition, snow can have a direct effect on sound, depending on when it falls and what state it happens to be in. Freshly-fallen snow absorbs sound waves, which makes an environment seem hushed and quiet. On the other hand, if snow melts and refreezes, the ice that is formed can reflect sound waves, making one’s voice travel further and sound much clearer.
Without a doubt, the most mind-blowing fact about snow is that it isn’t actually white— it’s almost transparent. Due to the fact that snowflakes have many sides, any light hitting them scatters in multiple directions. This diffuses♦ the entire color spectrum, making snow appear to be white. Dust, pollution, and even algae can affect snow color and cause it to appear black, blue, and even orange.
It is commonly known that the Inuit people of Northern Canada have 50 words for describing snow in its various states. However, what is not so commonly known is that the Scottish language has over 400 snow-related terms. Among the more interesting words are skelf, which means large snowflakes, and spitters, which refers to small drops of quickly-moving snow.