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serac

an isolated block of ice that is formed where the glacier surface is fractured.
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shear strength

in geology, describes the compressive strength (ability to withstand pushing forces) of soils; results from two internal mechanisms: cohesion between soil particles, and friction caused by contact between particles; variable among different soils.

shield

a screen to shield a rain-gauge from the influence of the wind, or to shield a thermometer against insolation.

shore lead

a stretch of navigable water between pack ice and the shore.
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short-term strength

the failure strength of a material under a short-term loading (e.g. up to about 10 minutes in a uniaxial compression test).

shortwave radiation

in meteorology, a term used loosely to distinguish radiation in the visible and near-visible portions of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 0.4 to 4.0 microns in wavelength) from longwave (terrestrial) radiation.

shuga

a form of new ice, composed of spongy, white lumps a few cm across, that tend to form in rough seas; they resemble slushy snow balls.
(Photo courtesy of the Antarctic Sea-Ice Processes and Climate program (ASPeCt).)
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Siberian high

an area of high pressure which forms over Siberia in winter, and which is particularly apparent on mean charts of sea-level pressure.

sikussak

very old, thick sea ice that forms in fjords; it often resembles glacial ice, because snow can pile up on the ice over many years.
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single-phase thermosyphon

a passive heat transfer device, filled with either a liquid or a gas, installed to remove heat from the ground.

sintering

the bonding together of ice crystals.
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sleet

(1) (United States) frozen raindrops that bind on impact with the ground (2) (elsewhere) a mix of rain and snow, a mix of rain and hail, or melting snow.

slope failure

mass movement of earth material down a slope; includes landslides, mudslides, debris flows, avalanches, etc; speed of movement can be sudden and catastrophic or slow.

slush

a mixture of snow and grease ice.

slush zone

common near the snow line on a relatively flat portion of a glacier where melting snow forms slush.
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smog

currently used as a synonym for general air pollution; it was originally created by combining the words smoke and fog.

snow

(1) an ice particle formed by sublimation of vapor in the atmosphere (2) a collection of loosely bonded ice crystals deposited from the atmosphere; high density snow (greater than 550 kilograms per cubic meter; 34 pounds per cubic foot) is called firn if it is older than one year.
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snow barchan

horseshoe-shaped snowdrift, with the ends pointing down-wind.
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snow board

a specially constructed board used to identify the surface of snow that has been recently covered by snowfall.
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snow bridge

an arch formed by snow which has drifted aross a crevasse, forming first a cornice, and ultimately a covering which may completely obscure the opening.
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snow core

a sample of snow, either just the freshly fallen snow or the combined old and new snow on the ground, obtained by pushing a cylinder down through the snow layer and extracting it.
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snow cover

(1) in general, the accumulation of snow on the ground surface (2) the areal extent of snow-covered ground, usually expressed as percent of total area in a given region.

snow density

the mass of snow per unit volume which is equal to the water content of snow divided by its depth.
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snow depth

the combined total depth of both old and new snow on the ground.
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snow extent

the total land area covered by some amount of snow; typically reported in square kilometers.
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snow flurry

snow that falls for short durations and which often changes in intensity; flurries usually produce little accumulation.
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snow grains

precipitation in the form of very small, white opaque ice particles; they resemble snow pellets but are more flattened and elongated, with a diameter less than 1 mm; the solid equivalent of drizzle.

snow layer

a layer of ice crystals with similar size and shape.
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snow line

the minimum elevation of snow lying on the ground or glacier surface; the snow line at the end of an ablation season marks a glacier's current equilibrium line.
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snow load

the downward force on an object or structure caused by the weight of accumulated snow.
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snow patch

relatively small area of snow cover remaining after the main snowmelt period.

snow pellets

precipitation in the form of small, white opaque ice particles; resemble ice grains, but are round (sometimes conical) and about 2-5 mm in diameter.

snow roller

roll-like snow formation, caused by a unique combination of snow, wind, temperature and moisture

snow squall

a brief, but intense fall of snow that greatly reduces visibility and which is often accompanied by strong winds.
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snow water equivalent

the water content obtained from melting.
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snow worm

an oligochaete worm that lives on temperate glaciers or perennial snow; there are several species that range in color from yellowish-brown to reddish-brown or black; they are usually less than 1 millimeter (0.04 inch) in diameter and average about 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) in length; some feed off red algae.
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