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Name: Jo Marie G.
Status: Other
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: October 9, 2004


Question:
At what point does the ground freeze (how deep does the freeze go)?



Replies:
Jo Marie,

The depth of freezing during the winter is a function of how cold the air temperature gets, how long the air temperature stays below freezing, how clear the sky is (clear skies allow the ground to cool more rapidly as energy is lost from the ground radiatively), and whether there is snow cover (and how deep it is). Long cold spells with no snow cover can cause the ground to freeze to a greater depth.

During a normal winter in northern Illinois, the ground will freeze to a depth of about a foot. If there is persistent snow cover, the ground may freeze only a few inches deep. If there is little or no snow cover, the ground can freeze nearly three feet deep.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory



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