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GA Review[edit]

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I pass this article as a Good Article. It is reasonably well written, neutral, stable and well referenced with in-line citations (thus verifiable). The topic is clearly of top importance. Numerous problems were fixed during the review. I am sure some remain and encourage other editors to further improve this article. Extra efforts would be needed (perhaps Peer Review) to bring the article to an A level. Review comments are listed below. Materialscientist (talk) 00:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Extended content

I know nothing about meteorology, thus be prepared :)

  • The article has a very basic name; thus I expect most of it should be understood by anyone (at least the lead), which is hardly the case now. I shall try to list what I don't understand, but urge you not to wait for comments, but to re-write all "obscure" terms and phrases.
  • The first paragraph of the lead is wrong right from the 2nd sentence on: the article is on "snow", thus I would first describe the object (i.e. maybe 2nd and 3rd paragraphs) and then to move to the "snowfall" and its formation, preferably without those professional terms (see below).
  • "When powdering, snow drifts with the wind, sometimes to the depth of several meters." (lead and section "Types") might be confusing as there is a noun drift in the previous sentence and a verb drift here, with a very different meaning. Also, I can not imagine snow getting down to a depth of several meters (that is how the sentence reads). Neither do I find a reference for this in section "Types" (I searched ref. 21 for "drifts" or "meters" and found no such statement (could be wrong search though).
    • Check now. The wording was slightly off before. We now have two references for snow drifts. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:33, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
      Refs made me understand what you wanted to say. I'll fix the wording here and also for the terms where I asked explanation. Please check if I messed up something. Materialscientist (talk) 22:50, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • "However, areas with significant snow each year can store the winter snow within an ice house," seems unconnected with anything.
  • "Snow cover can protect crops." from what ?
  • "while flurries are used for the lightest snowfall" is unclear. Do you mean "word flurry" ?
  • Could you rewrite "can lead to more localized high amounts downwind of unfrozen bodies of water." ?
  • Is it possible to clarify
    "extratropical cyclones"
    "comma head precipitation patterns"
    Sleet - has double meaning. Same with spring (i.e. do not wikify without checking the page first).
    crud - has an unclear and negative meaning to me. Is it Ok to use it in the lead ?
    drift - can we briefly explain this at first occurrence?
    lake-effect snow*
    Added more about lake-effect snow. Thegreatdr (talk) 02:38, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    poleward (i.e. what is pole ?)
    Polewards is unavoidable, if we're going to avoid geographically-centered POV. In fact, I just realized I incorrectly said north instead of poleward elsewhere in the article, which needs to be corrected. It needs to be described in a global way, and north isn't going to cut it. I'll get to the other fixes this afternoon. Thegreatdr (talk) 07:05, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
    Fine, but then lets explain the term. Materialscientist (talk) 11:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
    Done. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:37, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The 2nd picture shows US map and says "Preferred region of snowfall in an extratropical cyclone" (?!?) Imagine reaction of a person who does not know much about US and meteorology and came to WP to read about snow, which he/she never saw :-). Can you help him/her to understand what is going on? Possible solutions:(i) better picture; (ii) better figure caption.
    I tried to clarify the caption, to focus the viewer on the hatched green area. I did a bit of searching, and can't find any graphics that can replace this one. Hopefully, the reader will read the text on the left before viewing the caption, which will generally clarify it for them. Thegreatdr (talk) 20:58, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
    The caption is still to jargony and unclear (it sounds like that commahead is stuck in that specific location for the whole winter. I expect to start with something like "an example of .."). Materialscientist (talk) 22:50, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • File:Ice and snow ranges - northern.jpg is scary. Permanent permafrost in Mongolia, China and Khabarovsk region (Russia) ? The source actually says "discontinuous permafrost", which I don't understand. Also red line says "100 days of ice on navigable water" Which seems impossible (maybe except for Iceland). Can you check the accuracy of this map ?
I am happy with the updated caption, but. The source still says about 180/100 days of ice on navigable water, which I do not understand. I do hope this is because of my ignorance, not because the map is wrong, with all do respect to DoD. This needs a fix (perhaps in the description of the figure). Otherwise, sooner or later someone will come up with same question. Materialscientist (talk) 04:16, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Replaced with a simpler image, showing the extent of snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere on February 15, 2009. I think it's okay to be northern hemisphere centric with this image, since snow and ice cover in the southern hemisphere is mainly restricted to Antarctica and the Andes. Thegreatdr (talk) 20:41, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Made the wording changes you suggested in the lead. Replaced the snowman image with one that just has a snowman in it. See if the article's prose flows better, and is more understandable now. As for the image, it is from a good source. From what I understand, it is just trying to inform the viewer than not everyone north of that line has merely demarkates is southernmost extent. I reworded its caption. Let me know how the first round of changes went. Thegreatdr (talk) 17:01, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Reaction is good. Presubmission state was poor (lazy I would say), especially considering your experience, thus I expect hard work, from you (and unfortunately from me :-) to reach GA level. I hope you don't wish to reach FA status with this article soon. Please rewrite whatever I mess up by correcting.
  • Ref. 2 has wrong formatting and wrong link. Why this PhD thesis is a good ref. (I guess noone can access it (?))
Don't assume laziness when the topic is so potentially broad. Good faith, my reviewer. Just because I'm a meteorologist who's been with wikipedia for years doesn't mean I'm an expert in snow. I am not. I whisked in to save this article, which hadn't been improved in years. There were wording issues I missed within the article, I admit it. But, from what I understand, I'm not supposed to just replace all the text with something new. I'm supposed to work with the pre-existing text in order to show appreciation for the previous work that went into this article. I'm one of those people who has a hard time proof-reading my own work. I'll go through the remaining comments shortly to see how to better address them. Thegreatdr (talk) 03:47, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
No rush. More comments will come. I see this process simply as we (you, I, other editors) do our best to improve WP articles (that is why I quick-fix whatever I notice, instead of pointing). Why I wrote "lazy" - I thought you would see technical blunders with US/UK spelling, refs (the formatting is still inconsistent, but this might be Ok for GA), images, etc. - No offense implied, especially considering my terse and grumpy nature :-). I miss my own blunders in my articles; and I am a friendly person, somewhere deep inside. Materialscientist (talk) 04:16, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I try to be open to UK spelling per issues I've been involved with in past articles, and forgot about their different use of sleet from the United States. I've seen the British "sleat" wording within my home weather station forecast page. I'll see what I can do with the two images...they may just end up being removed as it was difficult to find those two. Mention which references have consistency issues, and I'll fix them. I was trying to use cite web, cite book, or cite journal through the article, though it's possible I missed a couple. The cite format I'm still new to, and was reintroduced to me during the recent Wind FAC, which was my first FAC for a non-list article in over a year. FAC is a very draining process. I'm pleasantly surprised (shocked even) that the article review started so quickly. I'm used to waiting multiple weeks for a GAN review. Thegreatdr (talk) 05:04, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Things will slow down during the week.
I don't see the problem with the ref 2 formatting or link used. I think I've filled out the information within this ref since you made the comment, which could be why. Within the abstract of the scientific paper (which is good enough as a source by wikipedia standards, from what I understand) it mentions the slow vertical ascent of air within the rainband forced by air lifting over a warm front, which is why it is a reference for that line. The web address is valid and doesn't "404". Thegreatdr (talk) 21:08, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • "Snowfall tends to form within regions of upward motion" also "extensive, associated with weak upward motion" - motion of what ?
  • "Snow can fall poleward of their associated warm fronts and within their comma head precipitation patterns.." - this sentence is still unclear (especially "polewards")
  • "in the lee of the warm" - please rewrite that phrase (too jargony for a lead + wrong wikilink). I would avoid "lee" at all. Materialscientist (talk) 00:45, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    Done Thegreatdr (talk) 02:27, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  • "tend to be wide and stratiform" stratiform needs explanation and a wikilink.
  • Could you rewrite section "Cause" ? Please. It is the front section, and it is the hardest to understand (for me). I also advise moving it somewhere down (deeper - better). Materialscientist (talk) 06:39, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
    The paragraph "Southwest of extratropical cyclones .." appears unrelated to the topic, that is snow formation. In general, the whole section is poor on that (snow formation), it rather plays with air. The sentence "A temperature difference of 13 °C .." is incorrect and needs rewriting. Materialscientist (talk) 10:34, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    It is completely related to lake-effect precipitation fact, you wouldn't get lake effect precipitation without that temperature difference, which induces the upward motion to create convection to cause the lake effect snow bands. It's virtually impossible to talk about precipitation formation without mentioning it is caused by rising air. How does the section need to be rewritten to make it more understandable? We seem to still be at an impasse here. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    Sure. Fine, but. Its all about writing - too much focus on cyclones, bands and bodies. We need transitional phrases (a few words in some cases) saying ".. and here is why the snow comes ..". The sentence "A temperature difference of 13 °C" is incorrect grammatically, as it compares "temperature" with "level" (also "absolute instability" sounds unclear), and I can't understand it yet to rewrite in plain language. Also, could you rewrite the sentence "Atmospheric lapse rate and convective depth are directly affected by both the mesoscale lake environment and the synoptic environment; .." in plain language ? I am sure those terms are normal among professionals, but can and should be avoided on WP. Materialscientist (talk) 00:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    I've completely reworded the third paragraph, per your comments. It should be much more understandable now, and the sentence structure should make more sense as well. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:30, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    Good, but I still can't understand the sentence "A temperature difference of 13 °C ..". The difference is between water in the lake (?) and what, air at 1500m (?) Why height level ? Because clouds form there ? Why 850 mbar (I naively guess pressure is a variable) ? Thus what is primary there, height or pressure ? "warmth and moisture is transported upward" I guess it would do so for any (not only 13 deg) temperature difference. Materialscientist (talk) 04:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    It's a crude measure of instability, looking at the temperature fall-off in the lower layer of the atmosphere. The more the temperature decreases with height, the less stable it is and the more likely ascending motion will occur. The pressure surface and height are roughly related. The higher up in the atmosphere you go, the lower the air pressure. I added the word air in there. When you get a low level temperature inversion, meaning the temperature increases above the earth's surface, the atmosphere is considered stable and clouds such as stratus and fog can form if enough moisture is present, with associated drizzle on occasion. In the case of the air mass which causes lake-effect precipitation, the atmosphere is normally clear upwind of the lakes due to its stability and lack of moisture. I'm going to add a line like that into the article. Maybe it will help. Thegreatdr (talk) 05:36, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    I crudely rewrote it, avoiding numbers which I found unnecessary there (at least I haven't seen why they are important). Materialscientist (talk) 06:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    If we're going to have degrees C, we also need degrees F for people in North America. Otherwise, your rewording works. Thegreatdr (talk) 06:08, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • From personal experience I know that damage by snowfalls is very different for "dry" fluffy snow (low temperatures) and sticky, nearly melting snow. The latter caused yearly destruction of power lines and trees in the place I lived. Can we cover a bit of that in the article? Materialscientist (talk) 11:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
The cause of snow needs to be high up within the article structure, because it seems incorrect to talk about snow for most of the article and then try to explain what causes its formation within the atmosphere later on. Other wikipedia articles which have passed GA/FA normally have cause as one of their first sections, such as wind. Damage caused by wet snow while trees are in leaf is covered in the damage section, although it doesn't specifically talk about wet versus dry all by itself. I'll look for a reference to see if this detail has been covered. And yes, the poleward wording (meaning towards the nearest respective pole on the planet) will have to stay to avoid geographically-centered (Northern Hemisphere-centric) POV. Stratiform has been explained within the article now, with a wikilink. It looks like another editor took care of the lee wording soon after you made your comment last night. Think I filled out the remainder of the references with similar information. I've added the wording mentioning it was air which was moving upwards. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:49, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We need to add a bit on sublimation of snow. Materialscientist (talk) 10:59, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    I added a line about the conditions best for sublimation. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:37, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The part on finding two identical snowflakes should be combined with a short story on thorough attempts in the past to find such identical snowflakes (with number of observation attempts, which was many thousands). Otherwise, non-specialist would not appreciate the uniqueness of that finding. Materialscientist (talk) 10:59, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    I'd have never thought of this. I'll see what I can find. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:17, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
    Added a line about this. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:49, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    Not enough because it centers on one person whereas there were dozens. I've heard Kenneth G. Libbrecht has the largest library of snowflakes, but again, I wouldn't put one person in front here, but just mention massive research in this area. Materialscientist (talk) 06:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
    While I see there has been significant research into identifying structures and types of snowflakes, even duplicating them in labs, I've only found 2 that were looking specifically for identical snowflakes and both are within this article. That's not massive. I've been searching online for a couple hours, and still, only 2. Nevertheless, I did expand that paragraph with more information. Thegreatdr (talk) 07:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Once you wrote acoustic section, could you add on sound produced when walking on snow. Is it due to displacement or breakage of snow crystals? A note on cite journal template. Use doi numbers as much as possible - they are short and never expire, contrary to URL links. I use url links only for articles, which luckily can be downloaded for free somewhere (doi will lead you to the publisher site). My way of adding a regular journal link is to type <ref name=xxx>{{cite journal|doi=10.1121/1.1917020}}</ref> and then run User:Citation bot/use (which you can easily install on your console). The bot will fill up all other fields. Materialscientist (talk) 04:25, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Well, if you start adding on snow sounds in cinema :-)), you could add that same sound can be produced not only with starch, but also with a mixture of sugar and salt (used for Alexander Nevsky (film)). Materialscientist (talk) 04:25, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
    Oh my. I've definitely opened a can of worms. I'll check that article and hope it has a reference. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:28, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
    So far, the references talk about glass, sand, and salt, but mainly for the appearance of snow. Do you know of a usable reference which mentions the sugar and salt for the snow sound in that movie? Thegreatdr (talk) 04:47, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
    For that movie they used salt+Naphthalene, but said salt+sugar gives similar effect. Can't find an english ref for that (only russian). Here is a couple 1, 2 for salt and starch. Materialscientist (talk) 06:38, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
    Ok. Added the salt reference. Starch was already included within the article. Thegreatdr (talk) 06:51, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Anything else you think is needed for GA purposes? Thegreatdr (talk) 03:34, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I'll find time to look again through the article. For the moment, I'm not happy at all with ref. 50. The question is not that trivial, and I would prefer a more reliable ref. Materialscientist (talk) 03:48, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
It's from a meteorological source. Just like this one. Is that one any better for you? Thegreatdr (talk) 04:07, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I see those particular "meteorological sources" as someones personal pages, i.e. completely unreliable (rumors). Materialscientist (talk) 04:30, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
How is it a rumor when it is on the main University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wyoming web sites, and the source is from their professors? I will check again to see if some book online has this mentioned to help resolve this issue. Although I doubt you'll find this a reliable source, it supports the others, even though it doesn't give a specific temperature. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:52, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
In most universities, stuff members have right for a personal page where they can publish anything inoffensive. This by default does not qualify as reliable source. Ref. 50 is just a peace of plain text, this one looks like a blog, this looks better, but does not seem to tell why does snow squeak. WP (that is I :-) requires something looking more like a research result. No offense here, but there are some borders of reliability which I can not cross. Materialscientist (talk) 05:05, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Fine. I just wish I knew about this yesterday. Thegreatdr (talk) 05:10, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
How about this one? Thegreatdr (talk) 05:32, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like an "official" reply of "specialists" to certified media. I would prefer the original source which those professors used for their knowledge, but if you can't find it, this ref will do. Materialscientist (talk) 05:58, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
The change has been made. I've looked through at least 1000 web results concerning this, and this source seemed like the most usable. Perhaps the real source was published many years ago, or stayed independent research, because no journal articles popped up during the search. I checked the AMS journal website, and there's nothing there about this topic. Thegreatdr (talk) 06:06, 16 July 2009 (UTC)