Snow's worst enemy: the sun angle

Snow’s worst enemy: the sun angle

As we head through February and into March, two things increase each day: our average temperatures and the amount of daylight. In fact, over the next month, we will add more than an hour of daylight! By March 23rd, we will see our first sunset after 8 PM of the year! These longer days are just one part of the equation looking into the rest of February and March. The sun's position in the sky changes as well as the sun angle increases each day. In other words, the sun gets higher in the sky each day through June. When the sun angle increases, more solar insolation/energy reaches Earth's surface. The net result is essentially warmer temperatures and a warmer ground.

And, with a warmer ground comes quicker snow melt. When snow falls in December and January, it sticks around for quite awhile if temperatures remain below freezing; even if the sun is out. In February and March, the the sun melts the snow at a faster pace due to it being higher in the sky. When it snows in late March and April -- which it frequently does in Michiana -- the snow has a difficult time hanging around for a long duration of time. Even if a foot of snow falls in April and temperatures after the snow are below freezing, it won't stick around for long due to the very high sun angle! 

If the rate of snow melt increasing isn't enough to put a smile on your face, Spring begins in just 41 days! In just 32 days we turn our clocks forward one hour and begin seeing sunsets approach 8 PM! If that's too far into the future to get excited about, Michiana is adding at least two minutes of daylight each day through mid-May! So, if you aren't exactly thrilled about this week's snowy forecast, think about upcoming longer days, increased sunshine and faster rate of snow melt! 

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