Even in the coldest of weather, Mother Nature can produce some spectacular sights! This striking example comes from Kelly Crueger, Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak, in Alaska. Originally posted on the National Weather Service Alaska Facebook Page, it shows the magnificent beauty of "ice bells!"
Think of ice bells as the reverse of a typical icicle. Usually, icicles form as water drips down where it comes in contact with sub-freezing air. As more water drips, the upper parts of the icicle grow bigger, creating that typical "icicle shape."
Ice bells are similar, but occur when an icicle forms along the waterline of creeks, streams, and lakes. As the water splashes up onto surrounding vegetation that hangs near the surface, little droplets of water freeze on contact. Unlike an icicle, where the water is coming from above, the ice on these branches forms a bell-shape as the lapping of water comes in contact on the bottom. While they are bell-shaped, they aren't actually hollow. However, during a little breeze, these ice bells can "clang" together, making a cool sound.
They are rare because they take precise conditions: unfrozen, nearly-calm water, below-freezing temperatures, and something hanging close-to, but not into the water. The photo here is of unmatched quality that this Meteorologist has seen. Click on the image for additional information on ice bells from the National Weather Service.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen