Climate: North hemisphere spring snowpack below average for the eighth year in a row despite record snow in the West

The Coloado snowpack is nearly gone, leading to some interesting percentage readings in this map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Global warming deniers just don’t get the difference between climate and weather

By Summit Voice

*This story has been updated with a couple of graphs from the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, thanks to reader comments.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate and weather are complex topics, so when we recently posted a story about how sea levels will continue to rise for centuries more, even if we stop polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, the usual bunch of global warming deniers crawled out from under their rocks and blasted the story, pointing to a record snowpack in parts of the western U.S.

In fact, some states did have record snow years, and Washington and Oregon reported their coldest April to June periods on record. But overall, the extent of spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere was below average for the eighth year in a row. Since 1990, the spring snow cover has only been above average three times. According to NOAA, the extent was low because of below average snowfall in central and northwestern Canada and Alaska.

Since 1990, The extent of the Northern hemishpere's spring snow cover has been below average for eight years in a row.

But in the northern Rockies it was different story. In late June, the snowpack in Utah’s Uinta Mountains was more than 800 percent of average, and these striking images from a Landsat 5 satellite show the contrast between this year and an average winter.

This image was taken by the Landsat 5 satellite on July 15, 2011. The lower image, also from the Landsat 5 satellite, shows more representative conditions on July 9, 2003. In the lower image, snow snakes along the high ridgelines, while the slopes are bare. Snow is a much more dominant part of the scene in 2011.
This Landsat image is from July 9, 2003, showing a more typical July snowpack.
The average extent of winter snow cover has increased in North America since 1967, according to this graph, courtesy Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.
Spring snow cover extent has decreased since 1967, according to this graph from the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.

10 thoughts on “Climate: North hemisphere spring snowpack below average for the eighth year in a row despite record snow in the West

  1. Deniar. We skeptics like to be called Deniars. Its like a combination of denial and liar. Has a cute ring to it, don’t you think.
    Nice short article. I assume(which alarmists love to do-assume) keeping it short doesn’t allow for too many lies to be discovered.
    The biggest issue you fail to recognize, is that the IPCC predictions involved increasing temperatures because of rising levels of Co2.
    That would involve less snowpack each and every year, Instead what we have is more snowpack on average since the AR4, contradicting any prediction made by that so-called ‘science’ you love to call ‘climate change’.
    You state that (and this is where the confusion begins is), ‘some states did have record snow years.’ That may be. If you ‘assume’ that 93 NOAA monitored cites in 8 states as some.
    If you are going to present the facts, why not present all the facts, and not just the facts that support your failed religion.
    Its not the record amount of snow that has become the issue, its how long the record snow lasted.
    Ski resorts stayed open longer than ever before.
    Nat’l parks stayed closed longer than ever before.
    Snow so deep, for so long, due to COOLER temperatures.
    Are you afraid to say it…. COOLER ?
    Try it. It can’t hurt…. Too much.
    Lake Mead will rise 50-60 feet, this year alone, from this one climate event.
    The same Lake Mead that has become the poster child for drought and climate change, now has enough water from one year to eradicate 20 years of drought.
    Go figure..
    So post your graphs and label others to make you look good in front of your friends.
    The rest of us will just laugh at you.

  2. It’s human nature to pick out trends. The climate has warmed a bit in the last several decades. That’s nothing to be alarmed about, because historical records and prehistoric indicators show that the climate changes all the time. The fact that it has trended a little in a certain direction while being observed (a blink of the eye in geologic time) means little. The polar bears have existed through much more severe climate variations than the one we see now and survived well.
    We are presently in an interglacial period of the current ice age. Enjoy the warmth while it lasts!

  3. It makes sense that you would resort to these hot air and uninformed responses in an attempt to distract others like yourself who haven’t read the papers or studied the graphs let alone the painfully clear photos from space that show all of the glaciers on the planet receding(that means disappearing or going away in case you were wondering).
    Who can expect you to understand these complex issues let alone that climate change isn’t a unidirectional all or nothing event. Clearly you and your so called fellow “deniars” haven’t gotten through first year chemistry. Everyone in first year chemistry who pass are expected to calculate the amount of CO2 that is released during combustion. And in many cases your prof will ask you to calculate that amount of CO2 generated from millions of combustion events. With very little knowledge and math even you can figure out we are screwed.
    Since It may still not be that easy for you it is understandable that even as these changes in climate are happening right in front of your face someone with such a limited ability to comprehend what seems obvious to the rest of us will still maintain that nothing is happening. Of course you may also need to save your job or your company or maybe it is your job to post idiotic nonsense on the internet.

    As the climate continues to change you, yes even you, will start noticing a trend in extreme weather events. These events will be both colder winters and deeper snows even large blizzards as the system destabilizes and heads towards a more chaotic pattern. By chaotic I mean greater nonlinearity. Look it up its math. We may see temperatures in the summer that are sustained at over 100F for months and spike as high or higher than 150F in places that normally never see temperatures close to that. Right now the highest temperature supposedly ever recorded was 134F in Death Valley. Well I heard some weather people saying that the midwest experienced temperatures in the 130’s this summer. On the other hand you may see the system generate a non summer year on europe and the US while in the southern hemisphere it is extraordinarily hot.

    We can’t predict with certainty exactly what will happen and how quickly since our system is non linear and very sensitive to very small changes. We can say with certainty however that since we have dumped so much CO2 and other green house gases into the air so quickly(on a geological time scale) that something very bad is going to happen much sooner than later. Because the system is dynamic and has some self correcting abilities the changes we will see some colder winters occasionally.

    What we are seeing now is in response to the continuously increasing levels of CO2 but at some point when the system is completely overwhelmed we will have a run away greenhouse situation.

    When this happens, and it will happen much sooner than anyone is willing to say publicly if we ignore it, the temperatures will spike to the point that we all die then the plants wilt and die, and the oceans and lakes boil away. The water vapor along with all of the other greenhouse gases will fill the atmosphere completely and like venus the earth will be essentially hell. The pressure will be so great that if another “intelligent” life form sends probes into the earths now changed atmosphere that it would be crushed and flattened then vaporized in the intense heat. The atmosphere will be filled with gas and no one will ever see the surface of the earth again…what will be left is a craggy rock planet under a bed of hot gas and intense pressure that can’t sustain any sort of life.

    This isn’t hard to figure out. It is similar to what happens when you put a glass bowl over a small garden. The gas is unable to escape.

    Unless we quickly develop a very efficient manner of sequestering all the billions and billions of tons of CO2 methane etc in the atmosphere soon …this planet is a goner and so are we…

    Lastly, there are many countries and companies racing to develop sequestration devices now… they are spending billions on them…
    why do you suppose they are throwing their money away on this hoax? There are hugh drug companies that are planning their next
    set of drugs based entirely on how we will die tomorrow…they are asking questions like what pathogens will we need to protect against when all the lakes in the world have temperatures above 70F?

    I hope that you are able to keep you job as a gas attendant or lobbyist for the oil companies…and I also hope that your able to sleep at night and live with yourself. But why not start helping the rest of us figure out how to stop climate change before it kills all of us including Manbearpig???

    1. @KJK -“..why not start helping the rest of us figure out how to stop climate change..”

      So, rather than address any of the points I bring up, you found it necessary to bring up something other than what this article discusses.

      Bob writes in the caption of the leading photo that,”The Coloado snowpack is nearly gone, leading to some interesting percentage readings in this map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.”

      While he suggests that this year does not measure up to ‘other’ years, Bob would rather avoid the fact that for the last three years, that snowpack is lingering longer than expected and predicted, due to cooler temperatures.

      If the IPCC AR4 didn’t predict this weather, but had predicted something else entirely, why avoid the question ?

      Any climate scientist that had been asked what to expect from global warming in regards to snowpack in the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, had predicted that snowpack would become a thing of the past, yet the opposite is happening.

      So while you bloviate the issue of global warming and find it necessary to use ad-hominum attacks at my person, you simple miss the point.

      The climate change you expect to be so settled, isn’t. And your inability to defend this simple article’s premise suggests your knowledge on the subject and on climate to be less than the sum of your comment.

      It is comments like yours and those that respond like you, that make the science of ‘climate change’ seem more and more a joke.

      1. You used my story as a platform to make some misleading statements. We have not had “above average” snowpack the last 3 years in Colorado. The closest measurement might be the date of peak runoff, which reflects the melting snowpack, and that date has steadily been getting earlier until this year.

        I’m not sure where you got the idea that “for the last three years, that snowpack is lingering longer than expected and predicted, due to cooler temperatures.” That’s not the case in Colorado, and from what I can gather from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, it’s not the case nationwide.

        There are actually some climate models out there that show an increase in precipitation in the Rocky Mountains, at least in the medium-term, so year to year variability in snowfall is not unexpected. Maybe the the norm will be going from extreme drought (2002) to abundant snowfall. And by the way, 2010-2011 was NOT a record year. We had more snow in Colorado as recently as 95-96.

        Finally, in the big picture, cherry-picking out a few seasonal trends, or variations in snowfall in one select region is quite different from modeling a global or continental climate system.

        Thanks for reading, and for the comments!

    1. I guess you have to reach back to obscure winter stats because so many cities have recorded all-time record highs, and are experiencing three, four, five times the normal number of 100-degree-plus days this summer. That might work to distract a few people, but I think most people are feeling the heat of global warming this summer.

  4. There is nothing unusual about Colorado’s “weather”. Go here
    plug in 1930 to 2011 Winter. The last 4 out of 5 CO winters have been below average. There is no trend whatsoever in 80 years.
    The same goes for CO Winter Precipitation. No trend whatsoever in 80 years.
    It is very easy to fool gullible people who want to believe with statistics. The IPCC wrote in their reports that we should expect less snowfall, not more.

  5. The author says, “But overall, the snow cover in North America was below average for the eighth year in a row. Since 1990, the spring snow cover has only been above average three times.” But your graph is of Northern HEMISPHERE Snow Cover. Those are not the same thing. Perhaps you should look at an actual graph of North American snow cover here:

    I can understand how you don’t want to show that chart b/c it shows an increase in snow cover wrt time.

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