Capturing a perfectly sharp flake of snow as it falls to the ground is no easy task, which is why Environment Canada is looking at extremely high speed video to do just that. According to a new report by the Canadian Press, the governmental agency is looking to buy a camera capable of capturing 2,000-3,000fps in order to properly understand how snow falls.
The video would slow “the movement of snowflakes and eliminate the motion blur making it possible to track air flow, velocity, acceleration as well as flake size and shape change in some instances,” and would be "used to determine [the snowflakes'] trajectory in windy and turbulent conditions.”
Whatever camera they opt for, it'll be sent out to a research station 50 miles north of Ontario by mid-December in order to undertake the study.
So, what's the point of knowing all this? It's an effort to better understand snow and snowfall. A spokesman commented that “this is to determine which flakes and what size of flakes will be caught by, or deflected around, different sorts of snow gauges. Then, we can determine which gauges are effective in measuring falling snow.”
Unfortunately, the news report doesn't paint a very clear picture of how the camera will be used. The article states "the resulting slow-motion images will show how snowflakes evolve as they descend," which seems to imply that it'll try and track a snowflake along its path of descent from the sky — which seems to me a bit beyond the scope of most modern cameras.
Regardless, hopefully we'll see some really stunning slow motion footage of falling snow for the new year.