All right, Squeaks. Are you ready?
Oh, hey, there. You caught us at a really great time.
It's almost spring here at the Fort, which means we're going to start getting a lot of different kinds of weather.
Rain, thunder, late snow, warm days, cold days, even fog.
So to brush up on all the different types of weather, there are and how they happen.
We're going to play a game.
I'm going to give Squeaks some clues and he's going to try and tell me what sort of weather I'm talking about.
And if he gets most of them right, he'll win an amazing prize.
You can play along too.
Alright, you ready?
Hello, there, everyone, and welcome to the game of weather wisdom What's the Weather.
I'm your host, Mr. Brown and our contestant today is Squeaks, the robot lab rat.
Squeaks is seven years old. He enjoys science, loves food and it says here that you're scared of spiders.
Is, is that true?
Well, there won't be any spiders in today's game so you can rest easy what there will be is lots and lots of weather.
Let's get to our first question.
This type of weather happens mostly in the winter.
It happens when tiny particles of water freeze high up in the clouds stick together and fall down to earth as little crystals.
And it's really fun to sled in this weather too.
Name that weather, squeaks.
That's right, Squeaks.
The answer is snow.
Now here's Jesse to tell us more.
Who's up for a word game?
When I say science, what picture comes into your mind.
Is it stuff like test tubes and telescopes?
Maybe it's computers or microscopes or living things like flowers or frogs.
But did you think of anything that looks like art?
A lot of science is really beautiful.
And there might be no better way to study the beauty of nature than by looking at snowflakes.
Have you ever taken a close look at snowflakes in the winter when they land on your coat or mitten just before they melt?
Each snowflake is a six-pointed work of art as cool and as individual as the ones you've probably made with paper and scissors.
But how does nature make snowflakes?
First thing to know is the little six-pointed pieces of ice that you and I call snowflakes are really made up of snow crystals.
Scientists use the word snowflake to describe the fluffy white things that fall from the sky, which are actually bunches of snow crystals all stuck together.
And the journey of a snow crystal begins in a cloud.
Up there water in the form of gas called water vapor.
Freezes around a piece of dust or pollen that's just floating around in the cloud.
This forms what's called a seed crystal and seed crystals can become snow crystals if conditions inside the cloud are just right.
As the sea crystal bumps around inside of the cloud lots of particles that make up water.
Stick to it, the particles that make up water have a very specific shape.
They kind of look like the letter V and when enough of these particles stick together they form shapes that have six sides called hexagons and that's your most basic kind of snow crystal.
But if there's enough water around then, more water particles will attach at the little points of that six-sided crystal, each becoming an arm or a branch.
From there all kinds of different things can happen even though all snowflakes have six sides.
They can end up looking totally different from one another.
In fact, scientists have names for more than 30 different shapes of snow crystals some are big and flat and are called plates.
Others look long and narrow called needles.
Still others are tall and wide like columns.
And then, there's probably the most famous shape called dendrites.
They look kind of like stars that have sprouted, tree branches.
The shape that each snow crystal takes depends on what the conditions were like.
As it formed in the cloud, things like temperature and how much water is in the air can make a big difference if you're a snowflake.
So for example, colder temperatures often make flakes with more pointy and fancy arms.
While snow crystals that are made in warmer temperatures and air with less water in it tend to be smaller and simpler.
Now you might have heard that no two snowflakes are alike.
A lot of them do look really similar to each other.
But scientists think that it would be really hard for any two to end up being exactly the same.
That's because the conditions in the clouds are always changing.
So the flakes that they make are always changing too.
Once a snowflake takes shape, its journey has only just begun.
After bouncing around in the cloud for a while it falls to the ground and as it falls it keeps changing depending on the temperature.
The amount of water in the air and other things like wind that it passes through.
Since each flake takes a different path all the way to the ground , each one ends up being slightly different.
And that's why scientists say that no two snowflakes are exactly the same.
But they're all really interesting and beautiful.
So now you know how snow crystals are made by nature, miniature. Works of art, no scissors required.