Thursday, December 4, 2008


It's hard not to get poetic about snow. For a start, "snow" rhymes with loads of things. Then there is the complete and utter beauty of the stuff. Snowflakes; beautiful. Every one different, so we are told.
But hang on.
Britain has an average rainfall of about 900 mm. That's a sheet of water 209,331 km2 in area, 900mm deep. That's 1.8 x 1011 m3 of water every year. That's 1.8 x 1017 cm3 and there are 20 raindrops to 1cm3 so that gives us 3.8 x 1018 raindrops annually. If only one in a hundred of these raindrops falls as snow (it is probably a bit more than this) then we still have 3.8 x 1016 snowflakes every year. The land mass we know as "Britain" has existed in its present form for about 450,000 years so in that time, 1.7 x 1022 snowflakes have landed on British soil.
Now call me unimaginative, but I think that in 1,700,000,000,000,000,000,000 snowflakes there may be a good chance that two were the same. Britain is only a tiny fraction of the surface of the Earth that gets snowed upon. The total number of snowflakes that have hit the planet must be massively higher. No two the same?
I think not.

1 comment:

GC said...

You're unimaginative.

You'll be telling us that Santa doesn't exist next.