Outside of the tropics, almost all regions of the world experience seasonal snowfall. The first snow of the year is excitedly anticipated by many people each autumn. By midwinter, snow covers about half of the land mass in the Northern Hemisphere (see table 1.1), and by the time spring arrives, most midlatitude denizens are cursing the snow and anxiously awaiting its seasonal exodus from the landscape. This cycle is repeated year after year, with nostalgia for the beauty that snow imparts on the landscape and the recreational opportunities offered by snow and ice giving way to practical considerations such as the inconvenience that snowfall can bring to transportation, mobility, and comfort.
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