South Pole Snow Puff Balls Are Yukimarimos

Other people have noticed the snow puff balls, mentioned in a post on March 15, too. Locally some people have called them cotton balls, weird snow and the starting alien invasion. South Pole meteorologist Lance dug up an article about the phenomenon in Nature.

Japanese researcher T. Kameda studied the snow balls at Dome Fuji station and published an article about them in the “Journal of Glaciology” in 1999, in which he coins the term “yukimarimo”.

“The balls develop on the surface of the ice in less than 24 hours … The extreme climate in which they form is the most likely reason why they have not been reported in detail before now. Only two reports from earlier observers may describe the same phenomenon. Roald Amundsen reported cylinders of snow on his journey towards the Pole in 1911, and Paul Siple at the South Pole in 1957 recorded observations of wispy balls of frost up to 50 mm across. … ‘Yuki’ is the Japanese [word] for snow, and ‘marimo’ is a globular water plant found in a lake in Hokkaido”

The enterprising Japanese promptly came out with a “Yukimarimo” cake.

Yukimarimo Cake, © Shin Sugiyama

Hop on over to nature and read the full article.

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