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Fairbanks vs. New York City

After traveling through 4 time zones and across thousands of miles (roughly 4200!), I arrived safely in Fairbanks, Alaska. We have been experiencing some pretty cold temperatures in New York this winter, but as I stepped outside the airport and felt my nose sting with 20 below air temperatures, I knew I had made it to the right place. I got into a taxi and drove down icy streets to my hotel. Looking out the window, I was amazed to be here. Let the adventure begin!

Fairbanks, AlaskaThe view of Fairbanks, Alaska from my hotel window.

Going Through Phases in Alaska

When people get to experience very, very cold temperatures, there is a popular way to test out the elements: throwing hot water into the air. During my time with PolarTREC in Fairbanks, Alaska, I took advantage of the below-freezing temperatures to try out this famous test. It was only -17 degrees Fahrenheit, but I was still able to create snow from my cups of hot water. Watch the video below to see!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpNwbBn5Rqk&feature=youtu.be

Notice how the cold water did not turn in to snow, but the hot water did. Why is that? Post your answer to why you think hot water turns into snow but cold water doesn't in the comments section below and stay tuned to the next journal entry to see if you were right.

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Guest said:

I think the answer is the chemical bonds change with heat and pressure so the chemical reaction might be faster because the sudden change in temperature turns the hot water into snow and the already cold water doesn't. Or does it have something to do with water vapor?
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Guest replied:

I think that the hot water freezes and turns into snow due to the molecules in which the hot water is going crazy jumping everywhere and then it cools down so the molecules condense together.- Kevin M.
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Guest said:

I think that the Temperature and the pressure Affected and the molecules of the hot water only react to cold weather.
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Guest said:

I think that there is chemical bonds that change with heat and pressure. The chemical reactions might be faster because of the fast change in temperature. So the hot water turned into snow. And the cold water didn't have time to change phases because it was already cold
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Guest said:

I think that the cold water didn't do anything because the air temperature wasn't quite cold enough to freeze the water mid-air. Also hot water reacts differently with being expanded (less pressure) than cold water, this would make them have different results.
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- Charlotte Z
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Guest said:

Hot water turns into snow because when the hot water meets the cold air and then theres to much water vapor for the air to hold. Theres usually no water vapor, and hot water gives of steam. Creating snow!!!
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By Karina Curry Tuesday 2/11 Homework
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Guest said:

I think that it turns into snow because the water molecules were moving so fast and breaking through the cold air it's seperates into snow.
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Guest said:

I think that the hot water turned into snow instead of the cold water because the hot water molecules expanded when it was thrown into the air, while the cold water molecules stayed compact. After being thrown into the air, the sudden change in temperature caused the hot water to partially freeze, making it into snow.
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Guest said:

The hot water turns into snow because when the water makes contact with the cold air, And since its incredibly dry and cold, the water vapor freezes and turns into snow.
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Guest said:

The hot water turns into snow because when the water makes contact with the cold air, And since its incredibly dry and cold, the water vapor freezes and turns into snow.
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Guest said:

I think the hot waters molecules are moving very quickly, and when they cool down as fast as they do in the cold temperatures in Alaska, it condenses into snow! By Jesse Gilman
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Guest replied:

I think that when the hot water is thrown into the cold arctic air the molecules slow down and makes snow.
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Guest said:

I think that since the temperature from the hot water is surrounded by extremely cold air, the molecules react in a different way that makes it turn into snow. Ryan Meehan
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Guest said:

I think the hot water created snow instead of the cold water because the hot water's molecules are moving quickly and are spread out and as soon as it made contact with cold air the molecules stopped and condensed. And the rapid change in temperature creates snow.
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Guest said:

I would agree also with Ryan Meehan I think that since the hot water is around cold water the two different temperature molecules react in a way where they form snow.Think if it as having friends if you have good friends that's cold water and you have friends that you just don't get along with which is the hot water.If you spend time with good friends your temperatures stay the same cold and cold no bad situation.On the other hand if you have a bad friend your temperatures are different hot and cold those two react in away you get a problem an explosion of snow.
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Guest said:

I would agree also with Ryan Meehan I think that since the hot water is around cold water the two different temperature molecules react in a way where they form snow.Think if it as having friends if you have good friends that's cold water and you have friends that you just don't get along with which is the hot water.If you spend time with good friends your temperatures stay the same cold and cold no bad situation.On the other hand if you have a bad friend your temperatures are different hot and cold those two react in away you get a problem an explosion of snow.
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Guest said:

I think that the molecules of the hot water expanded when it came into contact with the cold air, and it became snow very quickly when the temperature changed suddenly. Because the cold water was already cold like the air, no change occurred.
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Guest said:

Apparently, it is because when you throw hot water in the air, it creates water vapor from it's steam, and since the air can hold no more water vapor, the vapor attached itself to small particles into the air, and turned into a form of precipitation, aka snow. However, this does not work with cold water since it gives off no water vapor, such as steam.
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Guest said:

Apparently, it is because when you throw hot water in the air, it creates water vapor from it's steam, and since the air can hold no more water vapor, the vapor attached itself to small particles into the air, and turned into a form of precipitation, aka snow. However, this does not work with cold water since it gives off no water vapor, such as steam.
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Guest said:

I think that the hot water turned into snow because it gave off steam for the water vapor to latch onto, like in our cloud in a bottle, where as the cold water gave off no steam, and so the water vapor had nothing to latch onto
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Guest said:

Not exactly sure if this is right, but I think the hot water molecules are farther apart, so they cool quicker individually, but the cold water molecules cool more slowly because they are closer together and more condensed, so it takes a while for the water to cool as a whole. -Leila
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Guest said:

Not exactly sure if this is right, but I think the hot water molecules are farther apart, so they cool quicker individually, but the cold water molecules cool more slowly because they are closer together and more condensed, so it takes a while for the water to cool as a whole. -Leila
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Guest said:

I think that maybe since the molecules in hot water have more space between them, the cold air can change it into snow faster. Also, when you have diffusion in hot water versus cold water, the solute dissolves quicker in hot water, so maybe a similar property applies. The cold water already had molecules closer together, so it didn't have time to change states. -Lena G
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Guest said:

It is because of the rapid heat transfer. When you threw the warm water, the cold around you immediately wanted to cool it down. It did it so rapidly that the temperature of the water dropped to below 0 degrees Celsius causing it to turn into snow. The cold water wasn't affected because the cold didn't want to cool it down as rapidly because it was already (probably) close to the freezing mark.
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When the hot water gets thrown up into the cold air the cools so quickly the ice collects together and creates the snow-Kyra Taveras
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Since the hot water has more energy it can change forms quicker allowing it to turn into snow before it hits the ground. Since cold water has very low energy it does not have enough time to turn into snow before it hits the ground. -Isabel
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I think that hot water turns into snow because there's no water vapor in the air so then it reacts differently - Heaven
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Guest said:

I think that hot water turns into snow because there's no water vapor in the air so then it reacts differently - Heaven
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Guest said:

I think that hot water turns into snow because there's no water vapor in the air so then it reacts differently - Heaven
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Guest said:

I think that the main reason for the snow formation is attribute to the increased pressure in the heated water. Much like in cloud formation, this causes increased evaporation, and this water vapor freezes into snow when thrown into the below zero temperatures.
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Guest said:

I think that since the hot water has fast moving particles and the cold air slows them down, they turn into snow. Whilst the cold water already has slow moving particles. The air's temperature already has a much lower temperature compared to the water. Whilst the Cold water's temperature is more similar to the outside air. This causes the hot water to change into snow, and the cold water to not. -Julia Holman
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I think that the hot water turns to ice because of the sudden contrast in temperature when the water molecules are so far apart. The cold water does not turn to ice because there is not much contrast in temperature when the molecules are so close together. -Ryan Shepherd
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Guest said:

I think the hot water turns into snow because it is at boiling point, and is evaporating. Precipitation is the downfall of condensed water vapor, and snow is precipitation. The cold water hasn't been evaporating, it's not at boiling point, so it didn't turn to snow.
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Guest said:

I think the hot water turns into snow because it is at boiling point, and is evaporating. Precipitation is the downfall of condensed water vapor, and snow is precipitation. The cold water hasn't been evaporating, it's not at boiling point, so it didn't turn to snow.
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Guest replied:

This is Nathalie. It looks like it didn't publish that. By the way, it says it's 3:24 PM. But it's a few hours past that. Time difference, I'm guessing?
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Guest said:

I think the hot water turns to snow and not the cold because the molecules in the hot water suddenly contract to the cold and turns to snow.
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Guest said:

Im not really sure about this answer but think the hot water turns into snow because the molecules expanded in the air changed rapidly, but when the cold water was thrown up, there wasn't really a change in the air so it took a while for the molcules to actually do something.
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Guest said:

The reason it happens is because the boiling water molcules are not condesed and they are not still, so when they are thrown up in the water the cold molcules freeze the boiling water condesed and the boiling water turns into snow, while the cold water molcules are condesed and when they thrown up in the air , and nothing really happens to the cold water. abdullah meale
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Hot Water (especially it's vapor) makes Cloud Cloud makes snow
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Guest said:

I think this is because the hot water's molecules are moving so fast and then the water condenses due to the cold. This causes it to freeze and turn into snow. I'm kinda guessing but it be kewl if I got it right. #teamlightskin for life doe
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Guest said:

I think the reason why the hot water turned to snow when thrown up in the air while the cold water didn't do anything was because of the chemical structure of the different temperatures of water. It is known that in hot water (especially water that is so hot that it is actively turning to gas like the hot water in the video) the molecules are very spread apart and are moving very quickly. In cold water, especially water that is about to freeze and turn to solid, the molecules are very tightly packed. Therefore, when the hot water was thrown into the air, the molecules were already spread apart and moving very quickly which allowed them to turn to snow. Also, it may have had something to do with the hot water molecules trying to escape and turn to water vapor mixed with the cold and frosty air. Or it could have had to do with the arrangement of the hot water molecules vs the arrangement of the cold water molecules. --Anabel
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Guest said:

1. the effects are cool and 2. The cold water is already cold and the molecules move slowly. It can't create steam from slow molecules. The hot water has steam and the hot water has molecules that are moving fast and they linger because they cant adjust to the cold air and slow down. -Nic V
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Guest said:

1. the effects are cool and 2. The cold water is already cold and the molecules move slowly. It can't create steam from slow molecules. The hot water has steam and the hot water has molecules that are moving fast and they linger because they cant adjust to the cold air and slow down. -Nic V
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Guest said:

1. the effects are cool and 2. The cold water is already cold and the molecules move slowly. It can't create steam from slow molecules. The hot water has steam and the hot water has molecules that are moving fast and they linger because they cant adjust to the cold air and slow down. -Nic V
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Guest said:

My best guess as to why the hot water turned in to snow and the cold water didn't is because of the extreme difference in temperature between the hot water and the air temperature. Maybe because the hot water had to cool down extremely fast that it caused it to turn into snow, while the cold water temperature was closer to the temperature of the air, and therefore didn't have to cool down as quickly, causing it to stay a liquid. But, based on what we were studying in class last week the right answer probably deals with condensation, density..etc. --Jackson
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Guest said:

I think that hot water work better than cold because at the rate the molecules condense is so fast, it becomes snow, but if you were to use cold water, it would condense just as quick but turn into ice directly.
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this was Marlo, the name didn't show up before
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Guest said:

I believe that the chemical reaction between the cold water and hot water reacts differently in a way where the hot water would go through a much more significant change in pressure and temperature. The temperature of the cold water is already much closer to that of the temperature of the area you are in so as you released the cold water into the air, its similarity in temperature with the environment would allow it to remain in its current state, which is water, especially since no pressure is increased because of the likeliness the cold water has to the environment. All due to the fact that there is no alterations being made. When the warm water is tossed into the air it changed into snow most likely due to its temperature difference so as you let it go the expanded particles of the water would contract or exert pressure violently in a way where it changes and crystallizes in the air with the aid of the air temperature which was important the sequence of these events. This is why hot water would work better than cold water in the creation of snow. -Dawson