Snow cannon

Snow cannon

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Credit: ADAM HART-DAVIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snow cannon in use. This piece of equipment is commonly found on the lower slopes at ski resorts, where it produces extra snow to ensure a good ski- ing surface. A snow cannon has two pumps, one for water and one for compressed air. Water droplets are sprayed as a fine mist into the compressed air. The water freezes rapidly and forms tiny crystals of snow that fall onto the slopes. To encourage the formation of crystals, a natural protein called Snowmax can be used to aid freezing in a process called nucleation. Climate change has been blamed for the lighter, shorter snow falls that have necessitated the use of snow cannons. Photographed in the French Alps, France.

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