Humidity.  Not a word I’d associate with Calgary, a city where jumbo-sized bottles of hand and body lotion and humidifiers in every room of the house are not mere luxury items.  The air is normally very dry here – Wikipedia claims that we have an average relative humidity of 55% in winter and 45% in summer.  Once the cold, blistering winds and snow arrives, you begin to feel really parched.  It makes you wish for a tropical vacation (okay, so EVERYTHING makes me wish for a tropical vacation…sigh).

Over the past few days, however, we’ve been completely immersed in a foggy gloom, and the humidity levels have risen dramatically.  The temperature has been sitting below zero, however, so the water droplets from the low clouds have frozen and accumulated on the windward sides of trees, power lines, fences, etc. in a weather phenomenon called rime.

Rime is often confused with hoarfrost, but hoarfrost does not occur in foggy conditions.  Hoarfrost is the freezing equivalent of dew.  It occurs during times of high humidity, when the temperature of an exposed object becomes colder than the air surrounding it.  The delicate flowery/feathery sheets of ice you sometimes see on windows are examples of hoarfrost.

Isn’t rime beautiful?

Is rime or hoarfrost a common cold weather occurrence where you live?   

18 thoughts on “Rime.

  1. I hadn’t heard of rime frost, which I should have since I live near Calgary and am getting quite tired of these long days of fog and snow and ice. I’ll be sure to differentiate between rime and hoarfrost in the future (see link to my post above – Fall Hoarfrost – A Lens Full of Crystals.

    • So happy that the weather finally turned around over the past couple of days! We definitely needed a break! Your blog is great – I was doing a little browsing around it this evening. Looking forward to checking out more of your posts!

  2. Oh yes, it is beautiful. We often get some clear sunny days in winter where the frost glitters on the trees. We get both hoarfrost and rime, but the rime can get quite icy and cause problems with power lines or tree branches breaking. We also get freezing rain sometimes – the roads are then as smooth as ice rinks! Interesting post, as I hadn’t really thought about the difference between frost and rime before! :D

    • I hear you about the freezing rain – it’s something we dread here, too. During the winter, we have such wild cycles of freezing and thawing, the roads and sidewalks are simply horrible to navigate sometimes!

  3. We’re very foggy here too, I’m heading out with my camera this morning. Just to the yard, mind you, but I should be able to get some nice pics.

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