One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Meteorology. More fully "snow water equivalent". The amount of precipitation represented by a quantity of snow, sleet, or ice.
2Physics. The amount of water, measured in terms of mass, which requires the same amount of heat as a given body in order to raise its temperature by the same amount. Now rare.
Mid 19th century (in an earlier sense). From water + equivalent.
water equivalent/ˈwɔːtə(r) ɪˌkwɪvələnt/
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