Snowfall: the aesthetic experience of snowfall is basically a dynamic experience of movement which is sometimes accompanied with the creation of a snow layer. There are some meteorological conditions that effect the aesthetic appearance of snowfall.
Air temperature. In order to keep the snowflakes intact, the air temp’ should be below zero the entire way from the cloud to the ground. If the snow passes through warmer air it can partly melt. If so, the flakes are not exactly white and they are falling much faster – resembling rain more than snow.
Cloud type is responsible for the size of the flakes, their amount, and sometimes to other features like lightening. Flat cold clouds like you usually find in northern Europe, produce light snow with small flakes which is not that beautiful. Nimbostratus produce better looking snow and cumulonimbus usually makes the best looking snow.
Visibility while the snow is dropping can be a significant aesthetic factor. Sometimes the snow comes with fog. When the fog is thick your sight of the snow is impaired up to the point that you might not see it at all. In these cases, the overall aesthetic impression suffers a great deal.
Wind can affect the aesthetic appearance of dropping snow in several ways. First of all, when the wind is strong it is difficult to look, so you can’t appreciate the view. Strong wind can tear the flakes, and above all it can affect the snow movement.
Thunderstorms. Sometimes snowfall is accompanied by thunderstorms. Lightning can be a beautiful phenomenon by itself, but when it comes with snow the joint effect is fantastic.
There are also some physical elements that effect the aesthetic appearance of snowfall.
Flakes size. The mean size of snowflakes is maybe the most important parameter when we come to judge the beauty of snowfall. In this parameter it seems that on the scale of sizes that we meet: usually between 2 mm’ and 5 cm’ diameter, the bigger is gets the nicer it will look. There are several possible reasons that may explain that. First, when the flakes are bigger it is easy to follow them. Secondly, bigger flakes drop slower and with much more grace. Third explanation relies on the fact that in beneficial objects, like fruits, the big ones, in the known limits, are the more beautiful.
Flakes density. When we see just a few snowflakes coming down, it’s not very nice. When the density rises it becomes more and more beautiful – up to a limit, and then the beauty lessens. The best density exact measure depends on flake sizes and wind speed, but in order to enjoy the view you have to have enough space around each snow flack. If the density is very high, we can have another kind of beauty which relates to power.
The way the flakes are dropping is also very important aesthetic factor. The slower they fall the better. When they swing gently like butterflies it is even more beautiful. Here, the pure movement nature is the important thing, when elegance and lightness of movement are the aesthetic objectives.
Light. The exact nature of light is very important in any visual experience we have. When we are dealing with snowfall its importance rises because if it is not good, it is hard to follow the flake’s movement.
Background. The specific background that is present behind the dropping snow is also important. When it is white or light colored, it is hard to see the flakes. When it is complex it also diminishes the aesthetic pleasure because it gets harder to focus your attention on the flakes and their movement. So, the best background to watch snow drop is a broad simple dark one.
Well, in the limits of this short post I think that I said more or less most of the interesting things that I have to say about the aesthetics of snow. Now let us all enjoy an exciting snow of the most beautiful kind, and soon!