Science Course with Ryan Morse: Arctic air experiments – throwing hot water in frigid air

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – Almost every winter this classic cold weather experiment starts to circulate the internet.

It’s simple, all you need is boiling water and a frigid air mass in place. This experiment was conducted with an outside temperature of -8 degrees and a dew point of -19 degrees. Take a cup or pan full of boiling water and toss it into the air.

Tips: If you are using anything bigger than a cup, remember not all of the hot boiling water will evaporate. Keep in mind the wind direction, so no one gets a face-full of boiling hot water. 


The boiling water is not freezing in the middle of the air and turning into snow. In fact, the water is rapidly evaporating allowing a cloud to immediately condense and form. It’s similar to why you can see your breath when temperatures are colder outside. 

For more Science Course with Ryan Morse, click below

The reason why this happens is boiling water is closer to evaporating than cold water. Therefore, in a very dry and cold air mass, a dramatic cloud forms from the boiling water before hits the ground. With temperatures and dew points below 0 degrees, this experiment will work the best.

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