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I looked up nearly everywhere on the internet, but couldn't find any evidence that snow wouldn't melt because of ice. When I look it up, it instead tells me how salt can melt snow. I'm NOT looking up on salt!

This is the best weather-related StackExchange I could find, so I posted this question on this website. Also, I live in a hot desert climate, so it'd be hard to test it out in real life.

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  • $\begingroup$ The answers seem pretty reasonable regarding snow melting on top of ice due to sunlight. But I wonder if you perhaps are alluding to whether snow can act like salt does somehow, encouraging ice to melt, or whether one would consume the other or such? May help to clarify if you're wondering something more exotic like that? :-) $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Nov 29 '18 at 6:45
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Yes, a layer of snow on top of ice can melt in some circumstances. For example, one active area of climate research involves analyzing the optical properties of sea ice as they relate to incoming solar radiation. In some studies (e.g., Ehn et al. 2004) this involves snow layered on top of ice, with the snow explicitly melting (and later refreezing) over the diurnal heating cycle in some cases.

As a more specific recent illustration, this phenomenon was also reported for the Canadian Lowell Glacier in July 2018 by NASA. Abnormally warm air temperatures (up to 29°C/84°F, according to nearby surface observations) over several days resulted in the melting of surface snow while the deeper ice below remained intact - a process referred to as ablation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also in the case of frozen fog if the ice is not below -40F. $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Mar 14 at 22:19
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Yes.. If snow is lying on ice and is warmed by sunlight then it will melt.

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    $\begingroup$ More detail would improve this answer $\endgroup$ – Fred Nov 28 '18 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ Hi NMacBride, and welcome to SE. As others have said, it's customary here to give not just an answer, but also some explanation as to why this is. If this were the only answer, I'd recommend expanding it a bit. However, there's already another answer - but it would still be worth editing this one to give more detail if you feel you can add something that the other answer doesn't cover. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Nov 28 '18 at 22:02

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