12 November 2010
Floating layers of snow-and an illustration of Occam’s razor
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Georg von Tiesenhausen emailed me some amazing pictures today. They appear to show floating layers of snow surrounding trees. Pretty cool, no??
So what caused this?
Dr. von Tiesenhausen has an explanation that is very thoughtful. I will let him explain it in his email:
“As best as I can tell, what happened was that the water level had been up, since Huntsville is used as a watershed by the TVA. Then we had a big freeze, and the area on the photo was iced in. Then the TVA dams must have dropped the water level by about a foot or so, breaking off the ice that had formed around the trees, but leaving ice rings. Then it snowed, covering the ice rings but not the water, and then everything froze again, leaving the black ice below, with the snowed up rings around the trees above, creating a surreal image in the woods.”
Occam’s razor is at work here. In case you are not familiar with it, it can be stated as “The simplest and most likely explanation is probably the correct one.” It seems to me that Dr. von Tiesenhausen has come up with just that.
You can read a much more detailed discussion of Occam’s razor here.
Excellent scientific reasoning Georg!
Note: Dr. von Tiesenhausen is a well known educator in Huntsville, as well as my daughter’s high school English teacher.
I love looking at pics and reading your WILD, WILD Weather and all the inf. It’s so interesting ! Just jot my computer and learning my way around. Hope I’ll be able to learn more soon. Keep up the good work Dan.! Oh yes, We are sooo glad to have YOU and WHNT to give us our weather each day ! Thank you ! have a blessed , Great weekend ! Sandie Bowman, Boaz ,Al
Sweet picture, sweet post! Thanks, we don’t get to make pretty pictures like that in Austin 😉
I live in an area that floods, sometimes for weeks at a time, when it floods in the winter and ice forms we get hanging ice that can be walked under if the water was really high. Skating on ice that has collapsed is fun, the ice is very uneven, little ridges to skate up and down over, ice bowls that fill a bit and freeze over for that ultra smooth ice that is so rare. We skate the local swamps wearing life jackets in case there is water under the hanging ice.
Would love to see some snaps of that! Water is an amazing substance!