NOAA Report: Snow Cover Increases During Mid-Winter Months | Spring Snowpacks Dissapearing

NOAA Report: Snow Cover Increases During Mid-Winter Months | Spring Snowpacks Dissapearing

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NOAA Report: Snow Cover Increases During Mid-Winter Months | Spring Snowpacks Dissapearing

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Photo Credit: David~O | Cover Photo: Phil Roeder

While a heat wave of record proportions sweeps across the country, leaving our asses swampier and swampier each day, there’s a snow covered fog light at the end of the tunnel.

Related: Why Pink Snow Is A Telltale Sign Of Climate Change…

In their most recent post, The National Center For Environmental Information (NCEI for short) has signified that we are already in the midst of the upcoming snow year. Starting July 1st (aka Snow New Year), meteorologists started tracking snow cover for the 2016/2017 season. So far, Jackson Hole, Montana, Oregon, and parts of Idaho have already seen snow!

The annual snow cycle in the Northern Hemisphere, based on Rutgers Snow Lab data provided by Jake Crouch, NCEI. Graph by NOAA Climate.gov.

The annual snow cycle in the Northern Hemisphere, based on Rutgers Snow Lab data provided by Jake Crouch, NCEI | Graph by NOAA Climate.gov.

The reason for July 1st being the Snow New Year? Typically, July 1st coincides with the lowest snow cover for the entire year while allowing meteorologists to avoid splitting the winter months. On the flip side, January usually sees the most snow on the ground across North America.

January snow covers approximately 18.1 million square miles. That’s 31% of earth’s surface!

Looking back at the 2015/2016 season, January was the 9th largest snow cover recorded over 50 years of recorded data while April was the worst month ever recorded for snow cover.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.54.01 AM

“It’s interesting to note that every month during the 2015-16 snow season was record warm for the globe and at least 2nd warmest for the Northern Hemisphere. This shows that despite a warming planet and relatively warm months during the 2015-16 snow season, the cold months of the year can still support relatively large snow cover extents, for now.”NCEI

And while midwinter snow cover doesn’t seem to be in immediate jeopardy, the transitional months and summer months are seeing much less snow cover than in years past. And thanks to climate change, that trend looks to continue in the coming years.

Long-term changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover by month. NOAA Climate.gov graph, based on Rutgers Snow Lab data provided by Jake Crouch, NCEI

Long-term changes in Northern Hemisphere snow cover by month | NOAA Climate.gov graph, based on Rutgers Snow Lab data provided by Jake Crouch, NCEI

So far, most of North America is seeing a rapid decrease in year-round snow cover that includes glaciers, ice sheets, and floating ice– all thanks to climate change. That decrease means shortened ski seasons and smaller ski industry profit margins. Ski resort executives are attempting to tackle by creating 4-season resorts in leiu of smaller snow cover in March, April, and May.

June Snow Cover

Map of Northern Hemisphere showing where the number of snow-covered days in June has increased (green) or decreased (brown) since 1967 | Map by Jake Crouch, based on Rutgers Snow Lab data.

That said, we still have a snow year to look forward to and hopefully La Niña is as cold as advertised because our glaciers and arctic ice sheets need the help.

Find the entire NCEI article here: Happy Snow New Year from NCEI!

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