How is ice melted by slat?

Posted on: May 29, 2015

Did you know that every year councils up and down the country spend approximately £150 million spreading 2 million tonnes of salt across the UK's many motorways, trunk roads and main roads? On top of that it is likely that as home and business owners you will have also spread salt across your car parks, walkways, patios and driveways.

When ice begins to form we all instinctively reach for the salt from the cupboard and it is something we do without thinking. But why salt and how does it cause the ice to melt?

The Scientific Bit…

At school we were all taught that ice forms when the temperature of water falls to 0°C (32°F). Well, when you add salt to liquid water it causes the salt to dissolve and the freezing point of the water to fall. The more salt you add, the lower the temperature at which the water will begin to freeze. For example:

  • A 10 percent salt solution reduces the point at which water freezes to -6°C (20°F)
  • A 20 percent salt solution reduces the point at which water freezes to -16°C (2°F)

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What is El Nino?

Posted on: May 21, 2015

For more than a year now, weather forecasters around the world have been predicting that a phenomenon known as El Niño may be close. This is a process that occurs every few years in the tropical Pacific Ocean and can result in powerful fluctuations in our climate system. Over the past week or so, experts have declared that this phenomenon has now begun.

“The likelihood of El Niño is high but its eventual strength in the winter when it has its major impacts worldwide is still unknown…we will know in the summer how strong it is going to be.” - Professor Eric Guilyardi of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading

In the past El Niño has been known to cause:

  • Poor monsoons in Southeast Asia
  • Droughts in Southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador
  • Blizzards in the United States
  • Heatwaves in Brazil
  • Extreme flooding in Mexico

How Does El Niño Differ?

The usual situation in the Pacific Ocean is that winds blow from the eastern side of South America in the dire

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Expert team for winter maintenance

Posted on: May 15, 2015

You can imagine that, as a company predominately focussed on helping clients to avoid the risks associated with ice, health and safety is always at the forefront of everything we do. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) demonstrate the cost of failing to address the risks. Every year in Great Britain:

  • 78,000 injuries to employees are reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) of 2013
  • 28.2 million working days are lost as a direct result of work-related illness and workplace injury
  • £14.2 billion is lost as a result of injuries and ill health
  • 133 workers are killed at work

Health and Safety Audit

At Ice Watch we therefore take the safety of our staff extremely seriously and last week the focus was turned to us as a company. Following an inspection for our health and safety audit, we are delighted to report that we passed with flying colours. The auditor made specific reference to how nice it was for them to see a company where senior management are clearl

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Pioneer of weather forecasting

Posted on: May 7, 2015

The name Vice Admiral Robert FitzRoy is probably not one that too many of you will be familiar with; however last week marked the 150th anniversary of his death. Why is he significant you are probably wondering - well he played a major role in developing the accurate methods of weather forecasting that improve the way we operate as a company today.

In many ways, Robert FitzRoy was a man ahead of his time. He was a pioneer of meteorology, the world's first full-time weather forecaster and a founding father of what we know today as the Met Office. Thanks to his work, accurate weather forecasting became a reality and his legacy continues to be at the forefront of scientific discovery to this day.

His Early Life

FitzRoy's early life was spent in the navy; having joined in 1818 aged just 12. He would go on to make his name as the commander aboard several ships, most notably HMS Beagle - the voyages of which were made famous by Charles Darwin. The two first met in 1831, with FitzRoy inviting Darwin aboard the Beagle as company for the long journey. Darwin wou

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Be prepared for snowy weather

Posted on: May 1, 2015

It wouldn't be a typical British summer without some balmy weather conditions along the way. Just when you thought it was safe to put away your woolly jumpers and hot water bottles, snow appears to have made a return. It was just a fortnight ago that we were basking in the highest April temperatures for four years, yet in recent days some areas have been forced to endure some of the coldest - the mercury in Northern Ireland on Sunday night falling to -8°C.

“The temperatures will feel quite cold because we've had this warm April, but it's actually still spring and this is what spring is like in Britain.” - Nicola Maxey, Met Office spokesperson

Snowy Beginning to Summer

You would think that by the time we enter May the chances of snow falling would have passed. In actual fact, whilst many associate it with the beginning of warmer conditions, it is often a month of very mixed and variable weather. Therefore whilst it may not be an annual event, snowfall during May is far from unusual.

Whilst 2014 saw a relatively snow free mon

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