Needle ice is a phenomenon that occurs when the temperature of the soil is above 0 °C (32 °F) and the surface temperature of the air is below 0 °C (32 °F). The subterranean liquid water is brought to the surface via capillary action, where it freezes and contributes to a growing needle-like ice column.
Alternate names for needle ice are "frost pillars" ("Säuleneis" in German), "frost column", "Kammeis" (a German term meaning "comb ice"), "Stängeleis" (another German term referring to the stem-like structures), "shimo bashira" (霜柱 the Japanese term for "ice needles"), or "pipkrake" (from Swedish pipa (tube) and krake (weak, fine), coined in 1907 by Henrik Hesselman).
A similar phenomenon, "frost flowers", can occur on living or dead plants, especially on wood.
- Isbell, D.: Needle Ice on Mt. Osceola, EPOD of July 10, 2005. URL last accessed 2007-12-07.
- Pidwirny, M.: Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd ed., section 10(ag), Periglacial Processes and Landforms. URL last accessed 2007-12-07.
- Lawler, D. M.: "Some observations on needle ice", Weather, vol. 44, pp. 406–409; 1989.
Media related to Needle ice at Wikimedia Commons
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