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Treebeard's Stumper
25 January 2002

Last Friday was Pajama Day at Dunn Middle School where I teach science and shop. Silly, but fun! We brushed the frost from the outdoor picnic tables, ate waffles, and played a chess tournament in our PJs in the crisp sunny morning. Then we all watched the remarkable Japanese animated film Grave of the Fireflies. It's animation, but "cartoon" is the wrong word. Excellent morning!

Frosty Leaves

Last week we had to scrape the morning frost from the outdoor picnic tables to play a chess tournament in our PJs! It was a good reminder that it's still winter despite the sunny and dry weather lately. Look close at the frosty grass in the morning, and notice how the heaviest frost appears on the edges of the leaves. That's stumper enough, but I also noticed that the edges of the picnic tables are the very first part to thaw! Dry sunny days seem to go with cold frosty nights, and sometimes those stormy nights that feel coldest have no frost at all. How does this work?

Close shot of the frost on clover leaves at school.
Note how the frost forms mostly on the edges of the leaves.
Frost on a picnic table at school.
Note how the edges are the first to thaw!

Answer


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Copyright © 2002 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org