There is no meteorological term for this
natural phenomenon which happens when
large amounts of snow fall
around large lakes or oceans.
With the movement of the waves, the snow
becomes ice and is transformed into
Hundreds and thousands of ice-balls with a
centre of snow, the size of a football gather
along the beaches to give this wonderful
spectacle. This happens when the water
temperature is at 0 . Its a phenomenon
known as "Lolly " by the fishermen of the
Cap Breton island of Nova Scotia.
According to the Swedish meteorological
agancy, SMHI, this rare phenomenon when the
soft snow accumulates and is rolled over and
over by the wind on the beaches.
Its the same processus as when the erosion of
stoned transforms them into pebbles.
Ice-balls on Lake Michigan, USA.
This other meteorological phenomenon which forms
rolls of snow, also called ’snowrollers’, is also quite
This happens when the wind winds layers of snow,
one on top of the other. Due to the combined
temperature, humidity, speed of the wind and the
slope of the ground, rolls are formed
A surface of ice or ground covered in snow
enables the rolls to form.
If the surface is made of ice, this ice must
also be covered by a layer of “loose snow” of
about 2cm and a temperature very near the
ice’s melting point.
-Air temperature must be constant
between 0 and 1
- The wind must be strong enough to mobe
the rolls of snow, but not too strong, so
that it breaks them up so it must blow at
approximately 40 Km/h.
-A gust of wind lifts some snow, like a spoon would
with some iced cream. Repetition of these gusts of
wind enables the « roll » to move forward and to
collect more snow each time.
The size of the rolls can be of several
Some have even been seen up to 70cm.
When the « roll » is too heavy to be moved
by the wind or if it comes upon an
obstacle, it stops, leaving behind it the
imprint of its journey.
There is often a hole, in the very centre,
because the layers are thinner than those on
the outside and so they melt easily leaving a
shape like a « Doughnut ».
These snow balls can also be formed by the action
of gravity itself; like when snow falls from a tree or a
cliff and lands on a slope, it can start rolling and
form a ball.
In this way « rolls » can form in hilly areas.