Friday 29 March 2013

Snow, snoil, snil, snail, hail

In what seems to be the coldest March for many decades, my locality has experienced a couple of weeks of daily 'snow': but a strange kind of snow which is somewhat like hail, or sometimes hail that is somewhat like snow - either way it never lies for long, and accumulates like little drifts of granules rather than in layers.

My 10 yr old daughter has come-up with a useful set of terms to describe this unusual icy precipitation which has some of the properties of snow and some of hail.


Snoil - (pronounced snoyl) mostly snow but particulate, a bit like hail

Snil - exactly half way between snow and hail

Snail - mostly hail, but with a bit of snowlike softness


As you can see, the proportion of letters from each word, snow and hail, reflect the proportion of snow-like or hail-like properties - e.g. snoil has three letters from snow (sno) and two from hail (il) - while snail is the opposite, having two letters from snow (sn) and three letters from hail (ail).

This new nomenclature is proving itself to be usefully descriptive, and (more importantly) generative of the kind of micro-discussion of weather which we British seem to require as part of our daily diet - for example, emotional debate (confident assertions and incredulous counter-assertions) about whether the stuff on top of the car is best described as snoil or snil...


Matthew C. said...

It's been unbelievably cold here as well, in the southeastern United States. Spring flowering trees and plants are two weeks late.

You can rest assured we will hear not a peep about this from the usual suspects. . .

"All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" - Paul Simon, The Boxer

Samson J. said...

I know a British family out here in Canadia who moved here last year. I enjoyed asking the kids this winter if it was the most snow they had ever seen (to which they responded vigourously in the affirmative!).

Arakawa said...

@Matthew C.

"You can rest assured we will hear not a peep about this from the usual suspects. . ."

I wouldn't be so sure about that:

Matthew C. said...

I love how "global warming" is causing Arctic sea ice to "shrink dramatically" at the same time it is causing Antarctic sea ice to expand.

I remember in my geology program reading about cycad ferns and reptiles wandering the South Pole a few hundred million years ago. Then later we had ice sheets covering the mid-latitudes of all the continents.

Yet now we are supposedly suffering from "unprecedented climate change". All driven off the widths of a few, cherry picked, fossil tree rings.

Why do I think I'd get more reliable and reproducible results from the I Ching and some tea leaf readers?