Winter Storm Jonas has finally wound down, leaving behind two feet of snow, a slew of Jonas Brothers jokes, and an eerie silence enveloping the entirety of the East Coast. OK, not quite — but have you ever wondered why it's quiet when it snows? It's hard not to notice the sound of rain, wind, and other inclement weather, but it's not uncommon during the winter to totally miss the fact that it's snowing until someone hits you in the face with a snowball. Snow has a well-earned reputation for serenity — there are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to pictures of the tranquil environment snow tends to bring about.
It's easy to assume that the silence accompanying snowfall is all in our heads; after all, everything may look beautiful and calm, but surely snow doesn't actually make the world quieter. However, according to Science Daily, snow really does have an effect on the way sound travels; specifically, it muffles noise. Snow stacks up with plenty of space between flakes, which means that sound waves have less surface area to bounce off than, say, raindrops. If you remember anything from middle school science class, you've probably figured out that this can have an absorbing effect on noise.
Furthermore, snow doesn't hit the ground with the same force as water, which is why even heavy snowfall can be nearly inaudible. Of course, this doesn't mean that blizzards don't make noise; the weather accompanying snow — especially wind and sleet — often make up for its silence. Lastly, there's the simple fact that people and animals alike are less active when it's snowing. Once you're past a certain age, snowball fights aren't always worth putting on pants just to get them all slushy and wet two minutes later. Basically, we're all this grumpy cat waiting for spring to hurry up already.
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