Sublimation is the process where a solid (like snow or ice) goes directly to a gaseous state (water vapor) without melting (becoming a liquid). It is very handy during cold snowy winters.
So why is it important? The February 10th storm dropped 18 inches of snow on Mariton. Melted, that yielded 1.56 inches of water in the rain gauge. While some of this will melt on warm days, much of it will sublimate, especially during cold days and nights. That is a good thing, because 1.56 inches is a lot of rain to get rid of in the summer time when the ground isn't frozen.
I learned about sublimation in a physics class while living in Michigan during the late 1970's. We had several winters during that period where it would snow 4 - 6 inches every night for weeks on end. I cross-county skied a lot those years! It would mostly snow at night and then be sunny, but cold, the next day. My professor pointed out how the piles of snow in the parking lot were huge, but really didn't grow as much as expected. More importantly, the parking lots would have turned into skating rinks if all of that snow had to melt to disappear. This snow pile at Mariton is over 5 feet tall. It will shrink, but you will see very little water running across the parking lot (unless it gets really warm and melts). Believe me, we really don't want that right now.
Another reason to be thankful for sublimation: snow on your roof. If one side of your roof is 20 feet by 40 feet, the 18 inches of snow weigh about 3.5 tons. Over time and hopefully before the next snowfall some of the weight will sublimate into the atmosphere (and off of your roof!). Even more frightening is that the 18" of snow equals 778 gallons on a 20 X 40 foot roof. Do you think 800 gallons is going to flow very easily into your rain gutters and out your downspouts right now? We like to clear the bottom two feet of snow from our north facing roofs. It helps evaporate what does melt before it reaches the gutters.
Finally, you can line dry laundry in the middle of winter because of sublimation. Maureen and I haven't used a clothes dryer for over a decade. We line dry year 'round. In fact, we got rid of our dryer to use the space for something else. Line drying laundry is just one way we try to reduce our energy footprint. In the winter, it is actually more efficient than most people realize (because of sublimation). If we do laundry after work and hang it out in the evening it is frozen before we finish hanging it up. But some of the lighter items will be totally dry in the morning. Most everything, including jeans, will be dry that evening. The frozen water in your clothes goes into water vapor and laundry literally freeze dries. In fact, it dries more quickly if the temperature doesn't go above freezing. You know when it is dry because it is no longer frozen. An added benefit; laundry line-dried in the winter smells so good.