What is it about the snow that gets us so excited? Blame it on all the movies, television shows and music we grew up with, but there’s a real romanticism attached to spending time in the falling snow, wearing knitted jumpers and devouring warm baked goodies and hot chocolates.
We don’t get much snow here down in Australia, so when we get to experience it, it feels like magic. With a thick blanket of snow covering the streets, walkways and rooftops, a familiar sense of calm takes over. For a while even, things seem to get quieter.
And according to science, there might actually be something to that.
So why does it seem that the world quieten down when it’s snowing outside? Many a reddit thread has pondered this question. Some think it’s because people rarely dare to venture outside in a snow storm – a smart decision, it seems. But the answer actually lies in the acoustics of snow itself.
According to Science Daily, snow is a pretty good sound absorber. David Herrin, an associate professor at the UK College of Engineering who studies acoustics, says snow absorbs sound a lot like many commercial sound absorbing materials do – think fibres and foams used in cars, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and other similar equipment.
Sound absorption is measured on a scale from 0 to 1, and which Herrin notes that a few centimetres of snow will fall around 0.6 on the scale, meaning the snow is absorbing 60 percent of what is around it. Snow is porous, and even during a heavy snowfall when the flakes are hitting everything in their path, they barely make a whisper – especially in comparison to rainfall.
“Rain drops fall at higher velocities and strike the pavement,” says Herrin. “You are hearing impact noise. With snow, the impact force is much less partly due to the reduced speed.” Snowflakes aren’t very dense, and they tend to drift to the ground instead of hastily thrashing themselves down like rain does.
Et voilà, there’s your reasoning as to why it’s so much quieter when it snows. Makes us want to pack up and head out on a wintery adventure – here’s a little inspo to get you started:[related_articles]39443,22200,33132,28016[/related_articles]