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Solid, liquid, and gas - the three states of water. We check out water freeze and turn come ice and we view water evaporate and turn come gas but... Have you ever seen ice cream evaporate directly to gas? This process is referred to as sublimation and you deserve to read all about it below.

You are watching: What is the opposite of sublimation

Note: This ar of the Water Science institution discusses the Earth"s "natural" water bicycle without person interference.

• Water science School residence • The Water cycle •

Water bike components » atmosphere · Condensation · Evaporation · Evapotranspiration · Freshwater lakes and also rivers · Groundwater flow · Groundwater warehouse · Ice and also snow · Infiltration · seas · Precipitation · Snowmelt · Springs · Streamflow · Sublimation · surface runoff


A container holding dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) sublimating right into the air.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons, an innovative Commons License

Sublimation and the Water Cycle

Sublimation is the conversion between the solid and also the gas phases the matter, through no intermediate liquid stage. Because that those of united state interested in the water cycle, sublimation is most frequently used to explain the procedure of snow and ice an altering into water vapor in the waiting without first melting into water. The contrary of sublimation is "deposition", wherein water vapor changes directly into ice—such a snowflakes and also frost.

It is not easy to actually watch sublimation occurring, at the very least not v ice. One way to see the results of sublimation is to hang a wet shirt external on a below-freezing day. Eventually the ice cream in the shirt will certainly disappear. Actually, the best means to visualize sublimation is to not usage water at all, yet to use carbon dioxide instead. If friend don"t understand what ns mean, then look in ~ this picture of dry ice. "Dry ice" is in reality solid, frozen carbon dioxide, which wake up to sublimate, or revolve to gas, at a it will be cold -78.5 °C (-109.3°F). The fog you check out is in reality a mixture of cold carbon dioxide gas and also cold, humid air, created as the dry ice "melts" ... Oops, I mean sublimates. Find out an ext about dried ice.


From Mt. Everest come the Chinook winds


Sublimation occurs an ext readily when specific weather problems are present, such as low loved one humidity and also dry winds. Sublimation also occurs much more at higher altitudes, wherein the air pressure is less than at lower altitudes. Energy, together as strong sunlight, is also needed. If ns was to choose one place on earth where sublimation wake up a lot, i might pick the south confront of Mt. Everest. Low temperatures, strong winds, extreme sunlight, really low air push — just the recipe because that sublimation to occur.

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Dave Thurlow the the mount Washington Observatory uses a great explanation that sublimation in The Weather Notebook:

"There"s much more than one way for mother Nature to get rid of a fresh ceiling of snow. The most usual way, the course, is by melting-which gives everyone the satisfied of trudging with slush, mud, and also water. However in the western U.S., there"s a wind called the Chinook, or "snow eater," that vaporizes snow prior to it also has a opportunity to melt."

"Chinook winds room westerlies native the Pacific whose moisture it s okay wrung out together it passes over the Rocky Mountains. When these winds come under from the mountains onto the high plains, they deserve to be quite mild and extremely dry-as warm as 60 or 70 levels Fahrenheit — over 15 Celsius — v a relative humidity that 10% or less. The wait is so dried that as soon as it hits a snowpack, the frozen water evaporates, going straight from the ice to vapor and also bypassing the liquid phase entirely. This is dubbed sublimation, and also it"s a common means for snow to disappear in the arid West."


Can"t sublimate without the heat

Without the enhancement of energy (heat) come the process, ice would not sublimate right into vapor. The is wherein sunlight plays a large role in the natural world. Water has actually a physics property called the "heat the vaporization," i m sorry is the amount of heat required to vaporize water. If friend want an exact amount that heat, the warmth of vaporization the water is 540 calories/gram, or 2,260 kilojoules/kilogram. The is a lot much more energy than is essential to transform water to ice (the latent warm of fusion), which is 80 calories/gram. And, that is also around five times the energy needed for heater water native the freezing allude to the boil point. In summary, energy is needed for the sublimation of ice cream to vapor come occur, and also most the the power is necessary in the vaporization phase. A cubic centimeter (1 gram) that water in ice form requires 80 calories to melt, 100 calorie to climb to cook point, and also another 540 calorie to vaporize, a full of 720 calories. Sublimation requires the same energy input, but bypasses the liquid phase.