Snow is a type of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The process of precipitating snow is called snowfall.
Once on the ground, snow can be categorized as powdery when fluffy, granular when it begins the cycle of melting and refreezing, and eventually ice once it packs down, after multiple melting and refreezing cycles, into a dense mass called snow pack.
When powdery, snow moves with the wind from the location where it originally landed, forming deposits called snowdrifts which may have a depth of several meters.
The existence of a snowpack keeps temperatures colder than they would be otherwise, as the whiteness of the snow reflects most sunlight, and the absorbed heat goes into melting the snow rather than increasing its temperature. (Dec 18 & 19, 2009)
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