Diamond Dust

Here’s a form of ice we’re unlikely to see in Pittsburgh because our weather is rarely cold enough and it’s often overcast.

Diamond dust is clear-sky precipitation that looks like tiny diamonds in the air, falling through a ground-level cloud. The conditions for producing diamond dust are very specific:

  • The temperature has to be well below freezing — best at -13F or lower.
  • The cloud must be made of ice. It’s not a freezing fog that started wet and turned icy.
  • The cloud is in a clear sky and the sun is shining. That’s how you see the diamonds.

The best place to find diamond dust is in Antarctica where it falls 316 days of the year. Otherwise you have to be in the right place at the right time. Bundle up!

Bonus Question: Diamond dust is not associated with a pogonip. What’s a pogonip?

(video “Diamond Dust in Bellevue Washington” from Wikimedia Commons; click here to see the original)

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