Satellite Images Show Industrial-Effect Snow in Hungary

Chris Dolce
Published: January 26, 2020
The arrows point to the two areas of snow cover southwest of Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 23, 2020.
(NASA)

Industrial plants in Hungary produced snowfall last week, and the isolated patches of snow cover they created can be seen in satellite images.

The two small areas of snow cover are southwest of Budapest in the NASA Modis satellite image above from Jan. 23. Since there is a lack of snow cover in the rest of Hungary, it makes the so-called industrial-effect snow easy to spot.

Images below from the European Space Agency's Sentinel 2 satellite show the snow cover in more vivid detail, as pointed out in a tweet from meteorologist Michele Salmi. The snow in the first image is from an oil refinery, Salmi said.

A small area of snow cover southwest of Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 23, 2020.
(European Space Agency's (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite)
A small area of snow cover south-southwest of Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 23, 2020.
(European Space Agency's (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite)

It's not certain when the industrial plants might have created the snow since the area was obscured by cloud cover during previous days. Most of the snow cover appears to be in fields adjacent to the snow-producing plants.

Industrial plants making snow is not new and we've seen examples of it in the United States.

A band of industrial-enhanced snow appeared on Doppler radar in northern Indiana last Monday, as the National Weather Service pointed out.

Steam rising from industrial plants sends warm, moist air into the colder air in the clouds, allowing the snow crystals to form.

This a similar process to how lake-effect snow develops: a warm moisture source rises, and that rising air then cools and condenses into clouds that can generate snowflakes under the right conditions.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.