Have you ever noticed that snow sounds muffled after a heavy snowfall? You aren’t imagining it. David recently emailed and asked the questions, “How does fresh snow on the ground affect sound?”
Snow acts as an sound absorbing surface with its fluffy porous characteristics. This is similar to how insulation and foam adsorbs sound. Usually at least an inch or two of snow is needed to have this affect. Less than that, the snow is not thick enough to absorb the sound waves.
Harder and older snow that has been melted and frozen over to form a crunchy icy top-layer has a different effect. This harder top layer will actually reflect sound away and not absorb sound waves and can make the sound louder.
If you have a weather question for Megan, you can submit it here.