Sublimation and Deposition

Weather IQ

Correction: Freezing fog condenses, requiring it to have liquid particles present before it freezes on super cooled surfaces.

You have heard of evaporation, where a liquid turns into a gas. Condensation is when a gas turns into a liquid, but can a solid turn into a gas without transitioning into a liquid? Yes!

Sublimation is the process where a solid transitions into a gaseous state without melting into a liquid first. We see this happening in winter when snow and ice disappear even if we have temperatures below the freezing point.

Deposition occurs when a gas turns directly into a solid without condensing into a liquid prior. We see this at the surface with frost. However, deposition also produces thin, wispy cirrus clouds. Water vapor high in the atmosphere can form ice crystals that attach themselves to dust particles.

Sublimation and Deposition require more time and energy or the lack thereof. Sublimation takes excess time while holding temperatures below freezing.

Deposition requires supercooled air high up in the atmosphere or significant temperature or pressure changes. For deposition to work, water vaper has to be warmer than the air temperature around the surface it wishes to freeze upon and form frost.

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