Friday, January 21, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Last week we had one of the biggest single day snowfalls I can remember. We went from basically bare ground to about 20 inches of snow on the ground in one day! The sheer volume and immensity of all that white stuff calls out for a mathematical analysis:

Imagine our soccer field. It is a rectangle, it is now covered with 20 inches of snow. What is the weight of the snow that lies directly over the field?

You're on your own to estimate the dimensions of the field...use any reasonable size for a regulation high school soccer field.

What I will tell you as you get started is how snow is classified with regards to its "fluffiness". When analyzing and predicting snowfall amounts, meteorologists refer to a snow's "snow:liquid ratio". This storm's ratio was about 18:1 . A wetter snow might be as low as 10:1 . A ratio of 18:1 means that 18 inches of snow on that soccer field is the equivalent of 1 inch of water on the field.

Using the ratio and some information you'll have to find with some online research you can find the surprising answer to how much that snow weighs.

1 comment:

  1. Great catch, Kevin. I love it. Let's go further with this. What image could you capture that would prompt (or at least illustrate) the question "how heavy is the snow?" What kind of images could you come up with to prompt the students to come up with the need for the "fluffiness" factor? Finally, I'm really curious about your teacher moves if you were going to do this one in class.