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Old 01-04-2014, 11:07 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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What's the coldest temperature in which snow can melt? If there is direct sunlight, I've seen it melt in the low 20s, so I'm wondering - would it melt in 15 degrees? 10 degrees?

Of course it depends on how much the sunlight can heat the snow, but at what point is direct sunlight not enough to counteract the cold temperature?
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:12 AM
 
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That depends on a lot of factors, including:

1. sun angle - spring sunshine can melt snow at lower temperatures than late fall or early winter sunshine
2. wind - melting is faster when it's calm (but if above freezing, winds accelerate melting).
3. The surface - snow melts fastest on asphalt, slower on a field with tall crop stubble, and even slower on a field without stubble
4. how cold the winter has been - the warmer the ground below the snow, the faster it will melt.

I have seen 10 degree F April days when the snow melted on road surfaces, and 30 degree days in November when it did not in fields.
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:14 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Below freezing, snow sublimates more than melts. How dirty the snow is matters, too. Fresh snow reflects most sunlight, dirty snow abosrbs some.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Vernon, British Columbia
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Back in 1947 when it was -80F in the Yukon, the snow was sublimating at a rate of 1 inch/day. As for melting, it is currently melting at my house, and the temperature is below freezing. Only about 2 degrees below.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:27 PM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRidge1 View Post
What's the coldest temperature in which snow can melt? If there is direct sunlight, I've seen it melt in the low 20s, so I'm wondering - would it melt in 15 degrees? 10 degrees?

Of course it depends on how much the sunlight can heat the snow, but at what point is direct sunlight not enough to counteract the cold temperature?
It depends on the latitude that you live at and the shelter of your area.

But for my latitude 55n. The lowest I have seen snow melt is about -4c, after that it is too cold for the snow to melt. I think in america snow would melt at lower temps.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:40 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Ithaca's weather data records snow depth, though not sunshine.

The Ithaca Climate Page :: Northeast Regional Climate Center

Check out Feb 2007 as an example, you can see after the snowstorm an initial decline of 4 inches from compaction, and then about no loss until it reaches 46°F, when the snowpack losses a few inches.
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:25 PM
BMI
 
Location: Ontario
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We had some snow melt yesterday at -13C / 9F in sunshine, blue dome skies all day yesterday.
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