On yesterday morning’s walk, I was greeted by a beautiful winter wonderland of trees heavy with frost.

It was about two years ago that I first heard the term rime ice.

Over the course of my entire life, I had known the beautiful crystals that decorated the trees on some winter mornings as hoarfrost.

I’ve since learned that, there are a few ways to tell the difference. One is the weather condition when the cloak of ice formed. Hoarfrost occurs when the skies are clear. Rime ice, on the other hand, occurs more when there is low cloud and fog.

Another way to tell the difference is by looking at the ice particles themselves. You have to get close to the tree branches and look closely at the ice particles. Rime ice looks more like droplets, is heavier, and the branches are weighed down. The crystals are harder to break off. Hoarfrost is usually a lot lighter. It’s more feather-like. You can just blow it off the branches.

“Frost is the greatest artist in our clime – he paints in nature and describes in rime.”

~ Thomas Hood