Climate change is a pressing issue in our world today, and many people wonder if hail or snow is a contributing factor.
Winter is a season not usually associated with Ibiza. Ibiza, the Mediterranean island known for its warm and sunny climate, has become a popular travel destination for people from all over the world. But lately, Ibiza has experienced something completely unexpected and incredible: snow!
On December 2nd, 2020, Ibiza experienced its first “real” snowfall in more than fifty years. Since then, snow has been sighted in many parts of the island almost annually. There have even been various reports of persistent snowfall. Snow has accumulated the most on the mountains found in Ibiza.
The snowfall in Ibiza can be attributed to a combination of cold air and damp winds that have resulted in lower temperatures. Such a combination is very uncommon in the region and usually only occurs every few years.
Hail or snow?
It is an annual occurrence in the Balearic Islands that hail is mistakenly referred to as snow. While hail and snow are both made up of a mixture of ice and water vapor, there are some key differences between the two.
Hail is formed when strong winds move and water droplets rise to high altitudes in the atmosphere and fall back down. These water droplets thaw in the atmosphere and are then blown in all directions by the wind and then encounter further winds in other directions, which in turn move them up and down. This process is called “rising and falling”. When the water droplets finally hit the ground, they are frozen into small grains of ice.
Snow is formed when water droplets are sucked straight from the air deep into the atmosphere, where they cool and freeze completely. When these ice crystals eventually fall to the ground, they form fine, soft snow.
It’s easy to understand why islanders refer to hail as snow, but it’s important to realize that they are two entirely different types of precipitation. Hail is heavier and harder than snow, meaning it can do more damage if it hits buildings or plants. It can also cause greater damage if it falls in an area of volcanic rock and ash, which is usually the case with volcanic islands.
Snow, on the other hand, is lighter and spongy and can be a pretty sight in the right conditions, but it’s not usually as damaging as hail.
Natural spectacle & climate change
The snowfall has created a unique and beautiful natural spectacle in Ibiza. Tourists and visitors have taken unique pictures documenting the snow on the island. Many people have been amazed by the beauty of the snowfall and have posted photos and videos of it on social media.
Although the snowfall in Ibiza is beautiful, it is also a cause for concern for the islanders. As Ibiza usually has a warm climate, it is not prepared for such low temperatures. There are concerns that the snowfall and low temperatures may damage vegetation in Ibiza.
Nuestra Señora de la Nieves
However, according to the Ibiza Story, was there snow on Ibiza over 800 years ago? The cathedral at the top of Dalt Vila Ibiza dedicate “Nuestra Señora de la Nieves” (Maria of Snow).
There is an explanation for how the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Nieves got its name: in 1234 the conquerors made a pact in which they undertook to build a church for Maria in the event of a successful conquest. On August 8, 1235, the conquest of Ibiza was successful. Since the closest Marian festival was Maria Schnee, the church was named after her. Since the closest Marian festival was “Maria of Snow”, the church was named after it. August 5th is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Nieves in Spain. This is the only reason Ibiza and snow are associated often.
Nuestra Señora de la Nieves is a national holiday in Spain that takes place on August 5th every year. It is a day when many people come together to give thanks to God. Processions are organized in many places, in which a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried. The statue is then placed in a church where a mass is being held.
Photos: https://www.diariodeibiza.es/ & J.A.Riera 27.02.2023