Soft rime is a white ice deposition that forms when the water droplets in light freezing fog or mist freeze to the outer surfaces of objects, with calm or light wind. The fog freezes usually to the windward side of tree branches, wires, or any other solid objects.
Soft rime is similar in appearance to hoar frost; but whereas rime is formed by vapour first condensing to liquid droplets (of fog, mist or cloud) and then attaching to a surface, hoar frost is formed by direct deposition from water vapour to solid ice. A heavy coating of hoar frost, called white frost, is very similar in appearance to soft rime, but the formation process is different: it happens when there is no fog, but very high levels of air relative humidity (above 90%) and temperatures below −8 °C (17.6 °F).
Soft rime formations have the appearance of white ice needles and scales; they are fragile and can be easily shaken off objects. Factors that favour soft rime are small drop size, slow accretion of liquid water, high degree of supercooling, and fast dissipation of latent heat of fusion. The opposite conditions favour ice with higher densities, such as hard rime or clear ice.
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