Snow line

Snow line

The snow line is the point above which, or poleward of which, snow and ice cover the ground throughout the year.

The interplay of altitude and latitude affect the precise placement of the snow line at a particular location. At or near the equator, it is typically situated at approximately 4,500 meters (or about 15,000 feet) above sea level. As one moves towards the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, the parameter at first increases: in the Himalayas the permanent snow line can be as high as 5,700 metres (18,700 feet). Beyond the Tropics the snow line becomes progressively lower as the latitude increases, falling all the way to sea level itself near the poles.

In addition, the relative location to the nearest coastline can influence the altitude of the snow line. Areas near a coast might have a lower snow line than areas of the same altitude and latitude situated in a landmass interior because the average summer temperature of the surrounding lowlands would be warmer away from the sea. A higher altitude is therefore necessary to lower the temperature further against the surroundings and keep the snow from melting in the summer.


Charlesworth J.K. (1957). The quaternary era. With special reference to its glaciation, vol. I. London, Edward Arnold (publishers) Ltd, 700 pp.

Flint, R. F. (1957). Glacial and Pleistocene geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, xiii+553+555 pp.

Kalesnik, S.V. (1939). Obshchaya glyatsiologiya [General glaciology] . Uchpedgiz, Leningrad, 328 pp. (in Russian)

Tronov, M.V. (1956). Voprosy svyazi mezhdu klimatom i oledeneniem [The problems of the connection between climate and glaciation] . Izdatel'stvo Tomskogo Universiteta, Tomsk, 202 pp. (in Russian)

Wilhelm, F. (1975). Schnee- und Gletscherkunde [Snow- and glaciers study] , De Gruyter, Berlin, 414 pp. (in German)

ee also

*Tree line

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Snow line — Snow Snow, n. [OE. snow, snaw, AS. sn[=a]w; akin to D. sneeuw, OS. & OHG. sn[=e]o, G. schnee, Icel. sn[ae]r, snj[=o]r, snaj[=a]r, Sw. sn[ o], Dan. snee, Goth. snaiws, Lith. sn[ e]gas, Russ. snieg , Ir. & Gael. sneachd, W. nyf, L. nix, nivis, Gr.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • snow line — snow′ line n. 1) mer the line, as on mountains, above which there is perpetual snow 2) mer the latitudinal line marking the limit of the fall of snow at sea level • Etymology: 1825–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • snow line — n the snow line the level above which snow on a mountain never melts …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • snow line — or snow limit n. the boundary between a region of permanent snow and a region where the snow melts in the summer …   English World dictionary

  • snow line — 1. the line, as on mountains, above which there is perpetual snow. 2. the latitudinal line marking the limit of the fall of snow at sea level. [1825 35] * * * ▪ topography       the lower topographic limit of permanent snow cover. The snow line… …   Universalium

  • snow line — noun the line on a mountain above which there is perpetual snow and ice • Hypernyms: ↑line * * * noun 1. : the lower margin of a perennial snowfield : the elevation above which some snow remains throughout the year 2. : the extreme limit from the …   Useful english dictionary

  • snow line — noun the snow line the level above which snow on a mountain never melts …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • snow line — sniego linija statusas T sritis Kūno kultūra ir sportas apibrėžtis Žemutinė nuolatinės sniego dangos riba kalnuose. atitikmenys: angl. snow line vok. Schneelinie, f rus. снежная линия …   Sporto terminų žodynas

  • snow line — lower line of an area (such as a mountain) covered with snow for most or all of the year; latitudinal line indicating where snowfall begins at sea level …   English contemporary dictionary

  • snow line — noun The altitude, in a mountainous region, above which the ground is covered with snow, at any particular time. Syn: snow level …   Wiktionary

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