I know the temperature of a place is determined by various factors, a few of which I can think of are: Altitude, distance from sea, latitude, wind etc.

My question is basically regarding latitude. If a place is closer to the poles, the temperature would be very low. So if the temperature is low there is a chance that it snows (I do not know what other factors lead to snowfall). But even when the temperature is below 0 in places near poles (Finland) it doesn't snow. But it snows in Germany.

So why there isn't any snow in Finland but in Germany? Does a negative temperature indicate chances of snow?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ At first you said "I do not know what other factors lead to snowfall" and then you ask "what factor leads to snowfall" ? And I don't think this question is suitable for this site. $\endgroup$
    – Shashank
    Nov 27, 2015 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ There's no shortage of answers to this with a simple google search. Here's one. quora.com/… Heavy snow fall tends to occur when moist warm air rises and cools and as it cools it drops water in the form of snow. Cold air is heavier than warm air and warm air can hold quite a bit more water than cold air. Part of it is where lakes are and where moist air is more likely to cool based on prevailing wind patterns or mountain ranges, part of it is just chance. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Nov 27, 2015 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ But my question is a bit more specific. Even when the temperature is less than in germny there isnt snow in finland. Its juz cold. $\endgroup$
    – Vini
    Nov 27, 2015 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ It can't snow everywhere at once. Believe me, it snows sometimes in Finland. Actually, it snows in Hawaii too. I think this question needs some work. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Nov 27, 2015 at 18:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It snows in Finland. I don't think this question is well thought out. You need two things for snow - below freezing temperatures and water in the atmosphere. If you don't have both, it won't snow. The lower temps could be at higher elevations in the atmosphere for snow formation, so it can snow even when the air temp on the ground is higher (it melts though). Very cold ground temperatures are often associated with dryer air masses, hence, less snow, but this is not an absolute. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2015 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


Farrenthorpe is right, a little surfing the net for snow distribution would clarify the picture for you. However, I think you are referring to certain times when it rains further north and snows further south. There are several reasons for local anomalies, of which the most important is the dynamics of the polar jet streams. These are strong high-altitude wind that blow constantly in both hemispheres. These winds have meanders which migrate around the world, as depicted in:

enter image description here https://www.google.com/search?q=jet+stream++image+OR+picture+OR+diagram&lr=&as_qdr=all&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiX44v3tbHJAhUEjywKHSncCP4Q7AkINA&biw=1352&bih=631#imgrc=LXFiBx8qaJg5xM%3A

Meanders in these polar jets pretty much control the mid- to high latitude weather within the troposphere, bringing bulges of Arctic air south, and counter bulges of warm mid-latitude air to further north. But then they move on, and the reverse conditions sometimes prevail. As a long-term average the latitudinal control on snow distribution dominates. Of course, there are other influences as well, mainly related to heat re-distribution by the great ocean currents.

  • $\begingroup$ Given your insight, I think you could make great contributions to the question (care to edit?) $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Nov 27, 2015 at 21:45

Gordon has an excellent answer to one version of your Q. In case you are asking a more basic Q, here is a try at an answer.

Vini, think about the monsoons. Cooling the soggy parcel of air causes rain, but continued gradual cooling as it crosses an area of land does not necessarily create even heavier rain (leaving aside the rapid cooling that happens when it is pushed up a mountain). The parcel is dried out as it cools, so by the time it hits higher cooler land, it does not have that much precipitation to give.

enter image description here

Snow is just another type of precipitation. Like with rain, it occurs when somewhere in the air column the relative humidity humidity goes over 100% and the is at least some dust for nucleation. The history of the air matters. That very cold air in Norway had to travel there from somewhere warmer and more humid, perhaps even through Germany. As it traveled to Finland, it became colder and produced snow, drying it out, so by the time it got there it had very little water vapor to turn into snow.

enter image description here

In fact, we have a saying here where I am in Minnesota (USA) that it can be "too cold to snow". Our greatest snowfall is in March, early spring, when temps are right around freezing. It snow very very little in central Antarctica, the coldest part of the Earth.


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