Ice flowers, the winter’s delicate artwork

While our friends from Southern Hemisphere enjoy their hot or humid summer, the Northern Hemisphere is entertained by the beauty of the winter.

As always, in Canada, winter comes as an all-inclusive package: with squalls, and snow, with frigid temperatures, and sun; all winter activities are in full swing by now, you name them!

One of the entertainments I always wonder about is the fern frost, known as ice flowers.

The appearance of ice flowers on the windows is determined by several factors, including temperature and humidity in the air.

The humidity is the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere that can vary with temperature. It is interesting to note that hot air can accumulate more water than the cold air.

When hot and humid air comes in contact with a cold surface, water in the air condenses on the cold surface, so small drops of water will form on the cold object. If the window is very cold, droplets will freeze, causing the appearance of ice formations, like ice flowers.

Ice is water frozen into a solid state. Depending on the presence of impurities, it can appear transparent, or more or less opaque. Ice may be in any one of the 19 known solid crystalline phases of water, depending on temperature and pressure.

There were some theories, such as of the Japanese businessman and pseudo-scientist Masaru Emoto, who claimed that human consciousness could affect the molecular structure of water.

Either on the oceans, rivers, lakes, land or other structures, ice is found in many forms as glaze, snow, hail, pellets, rime, pancake or frazil ice, etc.

If you like winter, ice, or art, you might like these posts:

The Magic of the frozen falls: Niagara Falls

Winter kisses – ice sculpture

Winter landscape, sports and other stories

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer” – Albert Camus

39 thoughts on “Ice flowers, the winter’s delicate artwork

    1. Thank you Maggie! It needs to be a certain ratio cold/humidity to see these, and only certain windows are developing frost flowers. The ones in the city are very well sealed I guess🙂

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    1. Right, we do not see them in the city either, the windows are very well sealed🙂 These pictures were taken up north at the cottage, the outside door gets these over the very cold nights.

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  1. The sublime beauty of winter! If there’s one redeeming feature of single-pane glass (and there may only be one), it’s that on a cold winter morning you wake up to an exquisite, freshly sculpted work of art etched on every window. In Latvia, we call them Window Ferns and Frost Flowers and most of the patterns are simply breath-taking 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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  2. You’ve taken me straight back to my childhood! We used to get these ice formations on our windows and I always wondered at their beauty. My mother showed my how I could warm a coin in front of the fire then hold it against the ice to form a perfectly circular (if I held it steady!) hole to peep through 🙂 Today with central heating our homes are too warm, and/or our winters not cold enough, as I haven’t seen this for years!

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    1. Indeed, with the global warming and the much better sealed windows we don’t have a chance to see them often.
      Such a wonderful idea to peep through the circular ‘hole’ made with the warm coin. It sounds so mysterious to look outside, where a totally different scenery might show up after an overnight snowfall🙂

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