North American snow models miss the mark – observed trend opposite of the predictions

While some other bloggers and journalists insist that recent winter snows are proof of global warming effects, they miss the fact that models have been predicting less snow in the norther hemisphere. See this  2005 peer reviewed paper:

Frei, A. and G. Gong, 2005. Decadal to Century Scale Trends in North American Snow Extent in Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models. Geophysical Research Letters, 32:L18502, doi: 10.1029/2005GL023394.

It says exactly the opposite of what some are saying now. – Anthony

=====================================

Guest post by Steven Goddard

A 2005 Columbia University study titled “WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT SNOW COVER OVER NORTH AMERICA?” ran nine climate models used by the IPCC, and all nine predicted that North American winter snow cover would decline significantly, starting in about 1990.

In this study, current and future decadal trends in winter North American SCE (NA-SCE) are investigated, using nine general circulation models (GCMs) of the global atmosphere-ocean system participating in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC-AR4)…

all nine models exhibit a clear and statistically significant decreasing trend in 21st century NA-SCE

Some of the models predicted a significant decline in winter snow cover between 1990 and 2010.

http://www.eee.columbia.edu/research-projects/water_resources/climate-change-snow-cover/images/FreiGong2005Fig4iii.jpg

Climate Model predictions of Snow Cover Decline

As we know, winter snow cover has actually increased about 5% since it bottomed in 1989, and is now close to a record maximum.

Below is another interesting graph.  It shows the number of top 100 snow extent weeks by decade.  I took the top 100 weekly snow extents (out of 2227) from the Rutgers record and sorted them by decade.  The past decade has been at least as snowy as the 1970s.

The past decade has had the most weeks in the top 100 since 1966.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/4000/4218/modis_snow_quad.jpg

NASA Earth Observatory Images

Above are images from NASA showing snow extent from 2001 to 2004.  Below is an image from 2010, showing snow cover in all 48 states.

NOAA Image  – February 12, 2010

========================

UPDATE: Here is a new graph of north American winter trend produced by Steve at the request of commenters:

So far, the climate models have the wrong polarity on their predictions of winter snow cover changes.

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216 thoughts on “North American snow models miss the mark – observed trend opposite of the predictions

  1. So has anyone ever taken historic climate data, plugged it into these “models”, and compared them to, you know, reality?

  2. Once again it is shown that climate models have no skill at regional forecasting. This sort of thing isn’t science, it’s pure speculation. Reputable journals should stop publishing these papers.

  3. I have several conclusions when models are wrong. They in this case seem to leave out variables and make certain assumptions. It is a shame they are using models and ignoring actual temperatures and precipitation.
    Test the models and find they are wrong, then we don’t accept their conclusions.

  4. Will they revisit the data and post the new findings? Unlikely. Has anybody asked the authors, “what say you?”

  5. I am shocked and bewildered! Computer models created to generate a specific output using questionable logic and programming didn’t match reality? I am quite surprised. It truly is worse than we thought…

  6. Fortunately the ink was dry and the predictions were recorded. The words that the snow was exactly as ‘we’ said turn out to be the current convenient advantage of hindsight mixed with the hope of short memory of the public.
    Thank you Steven Goddard for the clear as always post.

  7. Oh another hockey stick that proves AGW!
    Don’t you know? More snow means it’s getting warmer. Yes snow way down south in Florida and Houston means – WARMER!

  8. Just another case of being wrong on so many of their “predictions”.
    Maybe theyd benefit from a gypsy costume and a crystal ball to aid them?
    Cross my palm with carbon….

  9. All that extra mointure going up there in the air like that, and spillin into Florida, Houston, Rome and hell even Baghdad. Damn it must be getting really hot out there! So Put on your aluminium foil suits
    …or frrrrrrryyyyyyyy in the hot sizzling snnnnnnoooooowwwww…

  10. O/T but I have noticed in the IJIS site with sea ice extent, that there has been a significant jump upward over the past couple weeks. Shockingly, there has been no press announcements about it by the warmists, even though, when it was below 2007 levels in January, they were all over it.

  11. Hmm… I find it interesting… those pushing the AGW agenda claim that the extra snow is an expected outcome supporting AGW due to increased water vapour in the air. However, this study clearly shows that the AGW predictions for the US was clearly LESS snow. So far, then, reality is falsifying the predictions, meaning the models have clear problems. If an AGW supporter would still like to claim that the extra winter snow is an expected outcome, can they please point to scientific studies showing that was clearly the expectation for the US? You cannot predict one thing based on your AGW science, then when the outcome is the opposite, then claim that *that* scenario is also consistent. Such makes AGW unfalsifiable and hence unscientific.

  12. Seriously, like in my last posts, it looks like Arctic sea ice is going to hit the 14M mark. I didn’t expect it this year.

    Oh! but it’s paper thin – don’t you know! The last polar bear is likely gonna drown this summer!

    Sorry, but I just watched 3 min of that nutjob Rahmstorf, and this is what happens when you do. The guy just has a way of spreading his madness.

  13. Do you know if there are any plots from the data on:

    http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/

    that show the daily “Area Covered By Snow” data by year?

    The coverage for US seems to be running 10-15% higher consistently this year (which agrees with your post). The data is accessible… I just don’t want to reinvent the wheel if a plot is available.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  14. When the pundits and politicians say that the current snow storms are not “proof”, they are correct. When they say that they are not “evidence”, as many of them do, they are blowing smoke. Rising graphs may have ups and downs. They don’t have 100+ year records.

  15. Re: the last map/image…
    Snowcover on all 48 states, but also; All of Canada, except one tiny green spot at Vancouver. (Which is, of course, normal for them).
    Silly, I know, but I can’t resist poking fun at the IOC and their ilk.

  16. Thanks, Steven Goddard, for keeping the spotlight of public attention focused on errors in the computer models that were predicting less snow.

    Decades of filth and abuse of science by the National Academy of Sciences and all the research agencies whose budgets require NAS review (NASA, DOE, NOAA, etc) are concealed beneath the climategate iceberg, so you can expect negative comments from those with a vested interest in the flow of federal reserch funds.

    Hang in there Steve!
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Sciences
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  17. It was Langmuir who said that it is a characteristic of pathological science to give ad hoc answers, invented on the spur of the moment, to any and all criticisms. See Number Watch for a listing of all Langmuir’s conclusions.

  18. If the alarmists can come up with a theory, one that makes sense, that says global warming SHOULD result in more snow cover, that’s fine. But here’s my problem. If you can come up with a theory that says global warming should result in MORE snow cover (as they now have) AND a theory that says that global warming should result in LESS snow cover (which they have in the past), then whatever happens to snow cover, it can be blamed on global warming. A similar paradox exists for hurricanes (one theory says that global warming should result in more and more severe hurricanes, and another says global warming (at least that of the anthropogenic persuasion) should result in less and less severe hurricanes) and Antarctic ice cover. And I’m sure, for other climate variables, if the facts contradicted what the AGW theory says, they could just come up with another theory to explain why the data says something different from what the previous theory said, but still be consistent with the notion of AGW.

    The problem here is, no matter what happens with snow, ice cover, glaciers, rainfall, hurricanes, air temperatures, ocean currents, ocean temperatures, sea levels, and anything else that has anything to do with climate, SOMEBODY is going to come up with a theory, one that makes sense on some level, to explain how it is caused by anthropogenic global warming. And so, no matter what happens, AGW can NEVER be disproven, unless, maybe, everything stayed exactly the same for about 30 years straight. Of course, that will never happen, but even if it did, I’m sure some alarmist would come up with a theory about how a complete lack of climate change was evidence of climate change.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is, I challenge the global warming alarmists to specify any and all circumstances, with respect to levels and/or changes in any set of climate variables, over any time span, that they would accept as evidence that either a) global warming is not occurring, or b) global warming is not caused by mankind. If they cannot specify any such set of circumstances, then we know that it is impossible to ever change their minds, and we can restrict this discussion to one of REAL science.

  19. In 2002 a MET office spokeman predicted UK children would in future see snow as a once a lifetime event.

    Hence 2009 and 2010 UK major snowfalls have had the right effect on AGW beliefs ;) .

    And the next lot is due to fall Sunday.

  20. The 1970 data is interesting in comparison to 2000; considering that 1970 was the great global cooling scare. I wonder if the sky was falling, media wise, with each snow storm back then?

  21. Some of IA is scheduled to get up to 4″ of additional warming today and over the weekend. This season’s been fun, setting the historic snow coverage record in IA and all, but I think we’re all getting a little tired of it.

  22. I wish readers here would forward stories like this to PBS and ask WHY the NEWSHOUR is so one-sided on AGW.

    The PBS Ombudsman is here:

    http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/feedback.html

    In the run-up to Copenhagen, the PBS NewsHour stated “”this huge team of scientists from all over the globe issued these unanimous warnings about the really extreme danger to the planet.”

  23. And I look out of my office window in rural Hampshire and see snow and hail failing from the sky. So glad it is a thing of the past.

  24. So anyone who claims that increased snow extent is consistent with CO2 induced global warming is what? A liar maybe?

  25. Modelling is pseudo-scientists child games. Not matured men and women replace thinking and empirical testing by playing, THIS IS PLAYING, it is like day-dreaming, it´s onanistic. It reveals an astounding decline in the american culture. This is your private and yours only apocalypse, your long awaited armageddon. But you can reborn out from the ashes like a phoenix, you can remake yourselves by radically pulling out all those evil weeds growing everywhere in your society.

  26. Dewitt,

    Gavin readily admits “regional” forecasting has little skill…but it is supposed to have skill at continental scales and higher. This is “continental.” ;)

  27. Excellent stuff. Warmists sometimes try to say that “models actually expected Antarctic ice to grow”, while looking into IPCC, exact opposite is found.

  28. The underlying assumption of the models would seem to be an inverse relationship between ppm CO2 and snow cover. Your first chart’s orange line, if inverted, would seem to track the expected rise in concentration of this naughty gas in the atmosphere. Because I think this assumption is wrong I am not surprised that the models are out of whack.

    Areas that are snow covered or very cold are not experiencing plant growth. No plant growth means a lack of photosynthesis and the processing of carbon dioxide. Earlier springs should lead to reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide and later springs should lead to increases from home heating and industrial processes. It seems to me the direction of causation is more direct in this sense than in the struggle to show CO2 impacts the onset of spring.

  29. This meme that our models predicted more snowfall is such BS spin. I also looked at a few articles to see published predictions. In a Nature 2005 review paper in the abstract they state

    “In a warmer world, less winter precipitation falls as snow and the melting of winter snow occurs earlier in spring”

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/cap/pdffiles/barnett_warmsnow.pdf

    The bulk of the paper is creating alarm about how the lack of snowfall reduces water supply. These guys are like day-traders just riding whatever trend is there, and then blaming it on CO2. THey have a model to cover all things. Its Snake oil. Pathetic science.

  30. If increases in snow can serve as evidence and proof for AGW, then so can increases in the extent of glaciers (since the snow is the major source of glacial volume). That way, whether the glaciers grow or shrink, AGW alarmists can use them as proof of global warming.

    This is why we must get the alarmists to explicitly state the conditions under which their theory can be falsified. And if they were doing real science, they would volunteer and include those conditions in their own studies. I say “real science” because real science involves testing hypotheses, and the tests by definition must differentiate the significance of the potential outcomes.

  31. Here’s a link to the original paper:

    http://www.geo.hunter.cuny.edu/people/fac/frei/frei_gong_2005_grl.pdf

    The money quote (please see Fig. 1 in the paper):

    “Mean simulated NA-SCE values range between
    0.55 and 0.95, compared to observed values of ~0.75
    (for perspective, Greenland represents ~0.10 of North
    America) (Figure 1). Only two models have mean values
    within ±0.05 of observed values; only two models overestimate
    NA-SCE; and all other models underestimate NASCE.
    Neither model that overestimates NA-SCE accounts
    for fractional snow coverage in grid boxes. There is no
    apparent relationship between model spatial resolution and
    mean NA-SCE (not shown).”

    “Figure 1 indicates that models disagree with each
    other, and with observations, on the timing of decadal scale
    NA-SCE variations. None of the model simulations capture
    the observed temporal pattern or anything similar
    . While
    some models at least approximately capture the magnitude
    of decadal scale variations in NA-SCE, others show little or
    no decadal scale variability.”

    heh.

  32. Must be all the dirty coal particulates and pollutants reflecting energy back into space!

    Thank the Almighty for all those sooty coal-burning Indian and Chinese industries!

    Ever since I saw the NASA sat pics clearly showing heavy banding of CO2 (especially in the northern hemisphere) around the globe, as opposed to a blanket layering as I understood was being claimed, I’ve wondered of the implications. I am not an atmospheric scientist so forgive me if the following questions seem too basic.

    1) Do the various climate models use an evenly-distributed blanket of CO2 for their calculations, or do at least some of them use the uneven concentrations clearly shown by the sat photos?
    2) What are the PPM’s of the areas of concentration as opposed to areas that are clearly devoid of excess CO2? It defies logic to accept that the concentrated bands of CO2 would have the same parts per million of CO2 as areas that show no concentration of CO2.
    3) Intuitively, these CO2 concentrations could have some effect on weather patterns in those areas of concentration. These bands of concentrated CO2 should also positively affect the land-based flora of the massed regions as it’s “settled science” that plants love CO2. Am I off on my thinking here?

    Any help from the cognoscenti is truly appreciated!

  33. James Crisp (07:36:51) :

    <>

    I would be rare in the lowlands, but there are mountains down there, even some glaciers. I’m sure the glaciers will be gone bt 2035.

  34. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I remember it they were not only predicting less snow due to AGW, they were counting on that in the models as one of the drivers for the high ends of their temperature predictions for the year 2100.
    Less snow = lower albedo = faster warming making even less snow and melting poles, which makes for even faster warming- a vicious circle or, if you prefer, a snowball effect.
    So, at what point does the failed prediction of diminishing snow coverage alter the predicted temp range for the year 2100?

  35. This is EXACTLY the kind of argument that is needed and that is why all the old graphs etc must be saved so there is no doubt about it. This posting would be a tremendous embarrassment to those who said just last week that this recent USA and Europe and Asia etc.. snow was proof of global warming. They said EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.

  36. The reality is that if anyone normal had build a model or series of models for a client organisation which was so dismal in its forecast accuracy, the client (and with good reason) would probably ask for its money back.

    Maybe the way to attack this is through a taxpayers alliance!

  37. But Global Warming predicts everything. How dare you question God sir, err I mean the holy Global Warming theory!

  38. James Crisp (07:36:51) :

    Is that snow in Mexico? I’m no expert but I’m guessing that is quite rare?

    In the mountains, that’s normal. There’s even one small ski resort in Mexico – Monterreal.

    Further south, in the mountains of Equador, one (or rather, two) can even have a snowball fight over the equator.

    “The snows of Kilimanjaro” also are located just some 330 km from the equator.

  39. After a new temp history is constructed from the efforts at surfacestations.org and the E M Smith analysis, will we see we’re right where we were in 1977 ?

    …why UAH doesn’t reflect this I couldn’t say. I expected a calibration issue until Roy’s last post.

  40. Is there not a danger in the programming of these models? The danger being that you observe what is perceived as a trend in reality, put it into the puter, & out pops a trend like the one apparently observed, then claim that the model are validated? Perhaps it’s just me then.

  41. Well done. The authors of the paper were aware that their model do not work well.
    Form the abstract:
    “20th century simulations are poorly correlated with observations”
    An easy win.

  42. You’re saying “the climate models have the wrong polarity on their predictions of winter snow cover changes”??

    That’s easy to fix: Just reverse polarity on the batteries and everything will be just fine.

    Duh.

  43. I expecting Tamino to produce some statistical magic, showing that the 20 year upwards trend and record maximum correlate well with the models.

    “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”
    – Mark Twain

  44. I don’t know if the ice extent has so much taken an upward jaunt that interests me, as much as the slope since the first of the year has not begun to roll over yet. Another two weeks of average cold Arctic temps (quite possible due to the high snow extent?) and the ice extent could be be the second highest since 2003. Add that to the information posted earlier that the multi-year ice is gaining strongly and we could have some decent, persistent summer ice cover.

  45. William Sears (08:27:34) :

    “It was Langmuir who said that it is a characteristic of pathological science to give ad hoc answers, invented on the spur of the moment, to any and all criticisms.”

    Yes, that is a clear characteristic of catastrophic AGW promoters. More on Langmuir:

    Symptoms of Pathological Science:

    1. The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.

    2. The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability; or, many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.

    3. Claims of great accuracy.

    4. Fantastic theories contrary to experience.

    5. Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.

    6. Ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to oblivion. [source]

    We can see these symptoms of pathological science throughout the "science" of AGW — which is not science at all, since it fails the scientific method. We are at #5 – 6 now.

    Catastrophic AGW is in reality a rent-seeking mechanism being promoted by various entities, with the ultimate goal of separating enormous amounts of money from taxpayers, and to aggregate national political power to government, particularly to the UN.

    No politician or political movement could hope to reap the financial benefits of the "carbon" scare by appealing to the electorate for such large tax increases in a straightforward manner, and in general people do not trust the opaque, unaccountable, and completely corrupt UN to be a world government; something it was never intended to be.

    Therefore, various entities have invented the myth that a tiny trace gas will likely destroy the world through melting ice caps, rapidly rising sea levels, and other disasters thought up on the spur of the moment [while reading Langmuir's list, keep in mind the CO2 scare].

    It is a disgrace that some scientists and universities have sold out their integrity for grant money and status. They must know that their self-serving behavior would ultimately result in a literal army of new government bureaucrats, and the forfeiting of national sovereignty to an international criminal body whose own blue helmeted soldiers rape and pillage, without repercussions, in areas they were sent to stop rape and pillage, and that Sec-Gen Kofi Annan and hundreds of UN functionaries have accepted vouchers redeemable for many millions of barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein in the Oil-For-Food scam. [MEMRI had a lengthy list of individual oil voucher recipients, but it has since been taken down.]

    And the repeatedly proposed implementation of the UN's "World Tax" of .7% of GDP, to be paid into the unaccountable and unauditable UN [a tax which would cost U.S. taxpayers alone over $100 billion a year in onerous new taxes, and which would quicky ratchet up from the original .7%] has been promoted for many years by Ban Ki Moon's predecessor, Kofi Annan. Moon now proposes the same world tax, but now it would ostensibly be for mitigation of "climate change." In reality, it is loot. Loot which would only be confiscated from the industrialized G-8 countries, passed through the opaque UN, and what remained would be doled out to developing countries – which include China, Russia, and the rest. And it is all planned as a back door tax, with no consent of the citizens to be allowed, similar to the EU Referendum.

    The free world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to whoever leaked the Climategate emails prior to COP-15. That action temporarily stalled the move toward the confiscation of much of the wealth and freedom of the West.

    But the war to make the world's citizens serfs of the UN and subject to the World Court is far from over. And those Quisling scientists like Michael Mann and the rest of the AGW promoters, who have tried to sell us out for their own personal aggrandizement, must be held to account for attempting to sell out their own country for money and status.

  46. Physics Major (08:45:16) :

    “So anyone who claims that increased snow extent is consistent with CO2 induced global warming is what?”

    One needs two things for snow, moist air and temperatures below 32F.
    Warmer oceans provide moist air. Score 1 for Global Warming Crowd.

    It would appear that more moist air is creating more snow, which has a cooling effect. Score 1 for the skeptics side.

    The big disagreements in the ‘Climate Debate’ have been over how nature will react to compensate.

    I.E. WIth more CO2 emissions will trees grow faster? Will we get more or less snow, which will have a cooling or heating effect.

    What happens to clouds?

    The doomsdayer’s all assume natures reactions will compound the problem. The Skeptics say natures reactions will mitigate the problem.

  47. Why doesn’t a journalist ask them what they think has caused the discrepancy between the models and observations?

    The Hockey Team and the other Climate Bandits must sooner or later realise that AGW is close to being falsified if not already.

  48. Believers have recently been spouting the position that AGW theory predicts more snow as the earth warms. That was curious to me because before we got more snow, the mantra was AGW would bring snowless winters. Steven Goddard’s presentation underscores several things I’ve been noticing lately:

    1) The AGW models predict less snow. Believers predict more snow because that’s what is observed.

    2) The believers, in total ignorance of their own theories, jump on any weather event, human tragedy, or animal story, irrespective of what it is, and say the models predicted it, it is further proof of global warming, and its occurrence is unprecedented.

    3) Believers follow a double standard. They demand peer reviewed science from skeptics, summarily rejecting anything that isn’t peer reviewed and published. They in turn use journalist commentaries, tour guide eye witness accounting, and pamphlets from advocacy groups in AR4 as proof and evidence of the validity of of their position that global warming is real and it is occurring today.

    4) The demarcation between weather and climate is very much dependent on one question. Can the event in any way be twisted to support the alarmist position? If the answer is yes, it is climate. If no, it is weather.

    Thank you Steven Goddard for yet another revealing post.

  49. Looking at the Northern Hemisphere graph above, one wonders how the modelers will hide the incline.

  50. harrywr2,

    Don’t confuse snow depth with snow extent. More moisture in the air might produce heavier snow in Greenland, but certainly not Florida.

  51. Hank Hancock. This is how religion works, by re-interpreting the situation to suit one’s model of the world e.g.

    My daughter has cancer – pray for her and God will heal her.
    God did not heal her – we don’t have enough faith.
    My daughter is worse – God is testing those he loves.
    My daughter died – God wants her to grace heaven.
    God is good and has taught us so much through suffering.

    Anything but change your view on whether God exists.

  52. Watts Up With That? Stockholm has never been so cold since 1829!!!!
    That means Global Warming isn’t it? ;)

  53. It’s great to see that the sceptic side are starting to run their own models, based on the data that the scientists went to great lengths not to disclose.

    I suspect it’s this replication of their results (and discrepancy with real-world observations) that they really wanted to avoid.

  54. There is little doubt that the models got it wrong [but who around here doubted that anyway :-) ]. That said, we have to also be aware of not overstating [or conveniently hiding things] our case. Take for example Steve’s plot showing ‘top 100…':

    [I hope it shows, otherwise look above]
    It shows that the 1960s and the 1990s were not very snowy. For the 1960s, that can be explained by Steve’s failure to multiply the count by ~2.5 [to account for the data only starting late 1966]. The difference between 1990s and 2000s is due to the reliance on ‘extreme cases’. If one sticks to the Winter Averages [as Steve has argued are the best – show falls in the winter, right?], the average winter snow cover per decade looks quite different from Steve’s ‘top-100′ chart:
    or http://www.leif.org/research/Average-Winter-Snow-NH.png if image not showing.
    I show two columns for each decade, depending on if a decade is from xxx0 through xxx9 or from xxx1 through xxz0 [also showing how sensitive this is to when things are picked].
    So, there are great opportunities for careful selections to emphasize [or deemphasize as one wants] things.

  55. After a slow start it looks like N/H sea ice extent is putting in something of a sprint at the end.

  56. Veronica (09:52:57) :Every prayer can be summirized as follows:
    Please God, make 2+2 not being equal to 4…and God can’t make it because it would destroy its creation.

  57. [snip – while I often disagree with Tamino, I won’t have you say such disparaging things – Anthony]

  58. “While some other bloggers and journalists insist that recent winter snows are proof of global warming effects,”

    It’d be nice to have a link for that straw man. I think most people would say that they are not inconsistent with global warming, not that they are proof of global warming.

    “they miss the fact that models have been predicting less snow in the norther hemisphere.”

    Over the course of the 21st century. Maybe. Look at the caveats from the paper cited:

    “Significant between-model variability is found, with most models underestimating mean NA-SCE. 20th century simulations are poorly correlated with observations, and, while individual ensemble members capture the magnitude of decadal scale variability, the variability of the signal is dampened in the ensemble mean, indicating that decadal-scale NA-SCE variability is associated predominantly with internal model variability rather than external forcing.”

    — Frei, A., and G. Gong (2005), Decadal to century scale trends in North American snow extent in coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L18502, doi:10.1029/2005GL023394.

    They aren’t exactly overflowing with confidence about he predictive power of their models for snow, are they? Also note the title, “Decadal to century scale trends.” Ultimately they say:

    “Two 21st century emission scenarios with realistic (moderate or significant) greenhouse gas emission rates produce decreasing NA-SCE trends, while one unrealistic scenario with fixed concentrations produces little or no NA-SCE trend. These results suggest that snow cover may be a sensitive indicator of climate change, and that North American snow extent will probably decrease in response to greenhouse gas emissions, although the magnitude of the response may be nonlinear.”

    So, at some point in the 21st century you can expect winter snow extent to decrease, as opposed to have no significant trend, as now.

    Current conditions seem to be anticipated well by one of the paper which cites the paper above:

    “The sensitivity analysis suggested a potentially complex elevation response of SCD and SWEmax to increasing temperature and precipitation in mountain regions as a result of nonlinear interactions between the duration of the snow season and snow accumulation rates.”

    ” These findings were echoed by the climate models that showed earlier and more widespread decreases in SCD than annual maximum snow water equivalent (SWEmax)”

    — Brown, Ross D., and Philip W. Mote (2009), The Response of Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover to a Changing Climate*, J Clim, 22(8), 2124.

    We are, of course, seeing significant decreases in SCD with no significant change in SWEmax. So that paper holds up quite well. Anyone know if one of these papers is more representative of the current state of the science?

    REPLY: It’s not a strawman.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1962294,00.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012800041.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/earth/11climate.html

    And I have a question. Since you are using a public email address of an educational institution, do they approve of your posting opinions here? See our policy page. – Anthony

  59. Leif,

    Your graphs don’t change anything and you seem to have forgotten that there are several weeks left in 2010 which will probably score in the top 100.

    Why all the nitpicking? If you see something fundamentally wrong with the conclusions, fine. I’m not seeing that in your posts.

  60. 2 Questions
    1) Why do you plot Dec-Feb when the model and paper only referred to January NA-SCE ?
    2) Why does your plot start in 1989 when the Rutgers data goes back to 1967?

  61. Robert,

    The trend for winter snow in the Northern Hemisphere since 1999 is +220,000 km2/yr with rsq = 3.13 – culminating in the second greatest extent on record last week.

    Your claim that there is no 21st century trend is patently absurd.

  62. I’d guess that we have snow cover in all 50 states. Mauna Kea observatory is up at 4200 meters, so that should bring Hawaii in, too.

    The models don’t seem to catch the 30 year half cycles of warming and cooling. Probably because the modelers aren’t old enough to remember the last half cycle.

  63. John R. Judge (08:05:38) :

    When the pundits and politicians say that the current snow storms are not “proof”, they are correct. When they say that they are not “evidence”, as many of them do, they are blowing smoke. Rising graphs may have ups and downs. They don’t have 100+ year records.

    I believe there are 100+ year records for individual sites, but they are not in the form that is currently being discussed. You will find historical records in places where ordinary people kept track of 1st snow, last snow, last snow on ground, etc.
    The sad thing about the models is that they cannot account for increases, i.e. – they are uni-directional.

  64. Steve Goddard (10:17:55) :
    Your graphs don’t change anything and you seem to have forgotten that there are several weeks left in 2010 which will probably score in the top 100.
    My graphs show how careful one has to be. You did not comment on the smallness of the 1960s on your graph. Did you multiply by 2.5 to compensate for the decade only having data a quarter of the decade? If not, your graph is sloppy work.
    The winter Dec-Feb 2010 does not have ‘several’ weeks to go. The Rudgers data go though week 7 of 2010.

  65. In a frivolous note the 02/12/10 snow map, misses the snow that covered South Carolina the afternoon and evening of 02/12/09. By midnight most of the coastal region had snow on the ground.

  66. Leif,

    Do you have a fundamental objection to the conclusions?

    Your analysis is flawed. If the first week in March is in the top 100, it goes in the graph. The graph represents weeks – not months.

    Second, I included the entire Rutgers record in that graph. It would be sloppy to extrapolate data which does not exist. And at no time did I make any inference comparing vs. the 1960s. The comparison is vs, the 1970s – which is a complete record.

  67. Leif Svalgaard (10:51:17) :

    Steve Goddard (10:17:55) :
    Your graphs don’t change anything and you seem to have forgotten that there are several weeks left in 2010 which will probably score in the top 100.
    My graphs show how careful one has to be. You did not comment on the smallness of the 1960s on your graph. Did you multiply by 2.5 to compensate for the decade only having data a quarter of the decade? If not, your graph is sloppy work.
    The winter Dec-Feb 2010 does not have ’several’ weeks to go. The Rudgers data go though week 7 of 2010.
    __________________________________________________________________

    There are several weeks of winter left. Obviously, there will be no remaining Winter 2010 data, for Rutgers or anyone else, to show until those weeks have passed into Spring. Unless of course, you use one of those vaunted models that predict weather and climate with such accuracy! :D

  68. Of course, more snow across the USA does not necessarily mean that the world as a whole is getting colder.

    Roy Spencer has an interesting global temperature plot for January on his site here:

    and the message seems to be that northern mid latitudes have been cooler than usual this year while other places have been warmer – in some cases like Greenland and Northern Canada a LOT warmer (of course warmer still means those places are below freezing so no lack of snow there either).

    Roy suggests that this pattern may be associated with the current El Nino.

  69. ” Steve Goddard (10:30:29) :

    Robert,

    The trend for winter snow in the Northern Hemisphere since 1999 is +220,000 km2/yr with rsq = 3.13 – culminating in the second greatest extent on record last week.

    Your claim that there is no 21st century trend is patently absurd.”

    It’s your source, Mr. Goddard. I just went there and looked at the snow figures you were citing.

    You are also misunderstanding the research if you think “change in the 21st” and “trend throughout the 21st century” mean the same thing. The climate is not changing linearly. We can expect more change at the end than at the beginning. The models themselves are extremely limited, as the paper acknowledges, which is why they confined themselves to talking to predicting the long-term trend (with many caveats.)

    Your position is analogous to a person who goes to an action movie after being told fifty people will be shot, and leaves after five minutes because no one has been shot yet.

    You are ignoring the significant decline in snow my almost every other measure (spring and summer extent, average extent, duration of snow cover) and are focused like a laser beam on a non-significant trend. 1999 was the lowest winter snow extent in the 15 years from 1985-1999. You’re cherry-picking your start date. An RSQ function is not a test of statistical significance as far as I know (feel free to educate me). What’s the p-value for your supposed positive trend?

    @Anthony: My institution gives us an email for shared personal and professional use. I am not commenting on my institution’s time, or using their facilities, or in consultation with them. To avoid confusion, I’ve switched to another e-mail account.

  70. very interesting post.
    i suppose it is only a matter of time until some one says ‘ ah yes – but snow is not climate’

    slightly off topic but – does anyone know where i could get monthly rainfall levels for med. north africa area.
    it appears to have been raining for most of this year in southern spain, portugal, algeria, morocco etc.
    in view of the recent IPCC scandal of ‘50% decline in food production’ in this area due to projected AGW lack of rain, it would be of interest to see what is really happening.

  71. Another great post Steve, although I believed you the first time around. :-)

    Your thread is all about proving that the GCM’s used by the IPCC were completely wrong, and this you achieved. I don’t think that statistics and trends are important. Just eye-balling the numbers shows that snow levels have returned to what we experienced 30-40years ago. This was not predicted by the GCM’s.

    Bearing in mind that the much of the alarmist twaddle from the IPCC relies on model predictions, what you’ve done by falsifying their prediction is a significant nail in the CAGW coffin.

    Oliver K. Manuel (08:23:26) :
    “Decades of filth and abuse of science by the National Academy of Sciences and all the research agencies whose budgets require NAS review (NASA, DOE, NOAA, etc) are concealed beneath the climategate iceberg, so you can expect negative comments from those with a vested interest in the flow of federal reserch funds.

    This is what happens when government and big business control the purse string. I’m afraid that this CAGW cancer has also spread to many other main-stream areas of science and currently little progress is being made. Science which has no useful predictive power is in need of new paradigms.

    OT – don’t know if you so this recent NASA article about the discovery of Fe in the suns corona seen during several eclipse?

  72. Another great post Steve, although I believed you the first time around. :-)

    Your thread is all about proving that the GCM’s used by the IPCC were completely wrong, and this you achieved. I don’t think that statistics and trends are important. Just eye-balling the numbers shows that snow levels have returned to what we experienced 30-40years ago. This was not predicted by the GCM’s.

    Bearing in mind that the much of the alarmist twaddle from the IPCC relies on model predictions, what you’ve done by falsifying their prediction is a significant nail in the CAGW coffin.

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2010/aas-eclipse.html

    Oliver K. Manuel (08:23:26) :
    “Decades of filth and abuse of science by the National Academy of Sciences and all the research agencies whose budgets require NAS review (NASA, DOE, NOAA, etc) are concealed beneath the climategate iceberg, so you can expect negative comments from those with a vested interest in the flow of federal reserch funds.

    This is what happens when government and big business control the purse string. I’m afraid that this CAGW cancer has also spread to many other main-stream areas of science and currently little progress is being made. Science which has no useful predictive power is in need of new paradigms.

    OT – don’t know if you so this recent NASA article about the discovery of Fe in the suns corona seen during several eclipse?

  73. @Anthony: “REPLY: It’s not a strawman.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1962294,00.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012800041.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/earth/11climate.html

    I’m afraid none of those links feature ““bloggers and journalists [that] insist that recent winter snows are proof of global warming effects.” They include many statements to the effect that winter is not climate, and several references to the idea that more intense storms may be more common in a warming world. Nobody said the recent winter storms were proof of global warming.

    Still looks like a straw man to me.

    REPLY: Still looks like you only see what you want to me. – A

  74. Tamino agrees. Obviously there’s a censorship issue here as well. The horror! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I am the wizard who doesn’t have a college degree.

    “Ordinarily, with 22 data points you’d only need the t-value to exceed plus or minus 2.09 to reach 95% confidence. But when cherry-picking the strongest trend from any point to the end, for a set of 44 data points, the necessary t-value for 95% confidence is much larger, 3.75. Goddard’s value, 2.91, isn’t even close, it doesn’t even reach significance at 90% confidence.

    Goddard’s trend is not statistically significant and his emphasis on the recent extreme snow cover is nothing more than a weather report.”

  75. Mike Edwards,

    The plot is for the Northern Hemisphere, not the USA.

    Robert,

    If you want statistics, how about doing a correlation of GCM predictions vs. actual for the first decade of the 21st century? The only reason I did rsq() was because other people wanted it.

    The graph is clearly in disagreement with the GCM forecasts. Some web sites love using statistics to obfuscate. I have zero respect for those people.

  76. Robert,

    The change is in the wrong direction. If snow extent change accelerates as you predict, then we will be in for another ice age.

  77. Physics Major (08:45:16) :

    So anyone who claims that increased snow extent is consistent with CO2 induced global warming is what? A liar maybe?

    Keep in mind that in AGWSpeak, “consistent with” in this context means not utterly impossible. 25-Sigma events would probably be considered consistent with AGW models.

  78. From accuweather.com: Jan 19th (today)
    “A train of storms is on the tracks in the Pacific Ocean, and it appears people in California and the Southwest will be waiting a long time for the caboose to pass.

    The onslaught will begin this weekend as two moderate storms roll ashore.

    In a singular sense, the storms will not have the power and the outcome of the storms in January. However, enough rain will fall to lead to urban flooding problems, mudslides and perhaps a few washouts.

    Enough snow is in store to again grace the Sierra and other ranges in the Southwest with heavy snow and fresh powder.”

    The train is loaded, it’s on it’s way in. Anyone want to wager what will happen when that train passes the Rockies?

  79. Dr. Svalgaard, it appears to me that your graphs could/may represent natural climate. Bit more snow for awhile, bit less for awhile. Now if the next decade is a bit more, then can we say we have a natural trend? Or would this take about 10 more decades of data? If so, unless cloning gets perfected soon, I guess I’ll never know if this snow cover is natural or GW!

    :)

  80. Leo G,

    Climate is absolutely not linear. If it were, earth would either be like Venus or Pluto.

    This obsession with trying to identify very long-term linear trends makes no sense when discussing cyclical behaviour.

  81. “The climate is not changing linearly. We can expect more change at the end than at the beginning. The models themselves are extremely limited, as the paper acknowledges, which is why they confined themselves to talking to predicting the long-term trend (with many caveats.)”

    Never heard that before(not), you can predict long term climate but not progression to the doomsday global warming. Ok NOW I believe you. :p
    In other words, you have no clue. But your high salary depends on it, so here you are.
    So whats it like to be a mental brown noser, is the pay good?

  82. So, in 2005 nine computer models predicted that snow cover would decline significantly, starting in 1990, FIFTEEN YEARS previous to the publication of the study. Why did they need computer models to predict for these fifteen years? Why did they not just use data from actual observation?

  83. By the divinations of Science, the eco-zealots portend apocalyptic catastrophe; by the divinations of Science, the skeptic assures all is copacetic. Surely the divination of entrails can do equally as well.

    For those who worship Science, these must be troubling times.

  84. Steve Goddard (11:00:12) :
    And at no time did I make any inference comparing vs. the 1960s.
    That is not the point. You show the 1960s, that is your explicit inference. For a correct analysis you have three choices:
    1) not showing 1960s because they are partial only
    2) showing 1960s, but in a different color [say] to denote that the data is partial
    3) normalizing the 1960s by multiplying the count by the total number of weeks in a decade divided by the number of weeks with data.

    Choice 3 is the usual choice [sometimes combined with 2]. I suggest that you simply do this and refresh the Figure in the post.

  85. Interesting from Dr. Spencer’s map (Thanx Mike Edwards).

    Reading ancedotal evidence from the Kiwi’s and Auzzies, it appears that on country is having a cool summer (N.Z.) whilst the other is having a hot summer. I find this interesting because they are not really “far” apart in miles. So obviously, there must be some other geographic reason – Aus having a large “desert”, N.Z. being very mountainous and having the coast close to mast of its land mass? etc.

    Looking at Dr. Spencer’s chart here is what my eyes pick out:

    For Aus
    – about 50% is 1*C higher
    – about 25% is 2*C higher
    _ about 25% is no change

    N.Z.
    – about 25% 1*C higher
    – about 25% 1*C lower
    – about 50% normal

  86. Climate Modelling

    As I understand it, the proponents of Catastrophic Anthropological Global Warming rely upon the release of so called greenhouse gasses (mainly co2) that are mainly derived from fossil fuels and released into the atmosphere by man as the cause of global warming. While the release of such gasses is true and the amount considerable, it is none the less, an infinitesimally small proportion of the total emission of co2 so released. They have never been able to separate the natural GHGs from the man made contribution let alone prove that this has had any significant effect upon climate.

    They seem to be rushing around finding all sorts of events to use as proof of their theory but which at best have only very tenuous and unproven linkages to this theory.

    On the other hand Dr. Miskolczi has proven, as far as I can ascertain, that Co2 emissions are irrelevant in regard to earth’s climate.
    Dr. Miskolczi first published his work in the Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Services in 2004, Volume 108, No 4. He published further statistical proof in the same Journal in 2007, Volume 111, No. 1. Since he first published his results, not one peer review has come back disproving his theory, or his Constant. To date, as far as I am aware, not one scientist has come forward to disprove Miskolczi’s theory that the Earth’s climate is at equilibrium, and that Carbon Dioxide cannot be released in amounts great enough to upset that equilibrium.

    If it is true that his work has not been challenged then all I can say is that the AGW had better get their act together or shut up.

    All their modelling efforts to show that earth’s temperatures are rising and are caused by increased amounts of co2 are no better that the soothsayer’s crystal ball.

  87. I think it healthy to consider Robert’s comments, even tho’ I don’t much “like” them, so, Robert, please keep commenting so far as I’m concerned.
    The big question, which only time will tell, is whether or not snow amounts will keep rising. Or stay the same, or begin to fall and keep so.

    However, IMHO, altho’the models may have indicated only a general trend, I think it quite right to put up an amber light when a decade of observations seems to diverge from the general model forecast line.

  88. Jimbo (09:36:39) : “Why doesn’t a journalist ask them what they think has caused the discrepancy between the models and observations?”

    Journalist? What is this ‘journalist’ of which you speak?

    I think there are a few left, here and there, but it’s like scientist, an endangered species, almost a null set.

  89. Brian D Finch,

    “Actual data” is the last thing that some people want to use. It would put them out of business.

    A CU professor forecast the demise of Aspen skiing based on GCMs, during their all-time snowiest winter.

  90. One of the most striking things about ‘climate scientists’ is how unscientific they seem to be! They don’t seem to pay even lip service to the idea that a theory should be falsifiable – so cold weather is evidence of global warming, just as warm weather would be.

    One might paraphrase their position as, any unusual weather is evidence that we should spend a trillion dollars or face a global catastrophe!

  91. “If you want statistics, how about doing a correlation of GCM predictions vs. actual for the first decade of the 21st century?”

    It would seem to me that the desire to change the subject to others’ shortcomings does not reflect a lot of confidence on your part in how this discussion is going.

    “The only reason I did rsq() was because other people wanted it.”

    It’s great that you did that; thank you. The reason I brought it up is because we were discussing whether the trend was statistically significant. I know a few ways to measure that (not being a statistics expert) and for all I knew, RSQ was a method of doing so I didn’t know.

    “The graph is clearly in disagreement with the GCM forecasts.”

    Some of them. On the other hand it seems to agree well with the models used in the Journal of Climate paper from 2009. And the spring and summer snow cover are declining, as predicted. I think it’s too early to judge the long-term trend. I mean, how would you react to the claim that numbers like these, 1999-present, showed long-term warming would occur in the 21st century?

    “Some web sites love using statistics to obfuscate. I have zero respect for those people.”

    Statistical significance is an important concept. As Einstein put it “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

    joe (11:56:30) : “In other words, you have no clue. But your high salary depends on it, so here you are.”

    Now I have a high salary that depends on AGW. Fascinating. Each data I post here, I learn surprising things about my background and circumstances.

  92. {Steve Goddard (11:50:41) :

    Leo G,

    Climate is absolutely not linear. If it were, earth would either be like Venus or Pluto.

    This obsession with trying to identify very long-term linear trends makes no sense when discussing cyclical behaviour.}

    Steve, was more a play on how even with a thirty year trend, as in temp rise from 75-95, I feel that I will not be here (in body at least) to ever know who had it right!

    My feeling is that we need many more years to get a handle on all of the things that effect the climate. But I do think that CO2 does slow down the escape of kinetic energy from the troposphere. I just wish that the argument was framed more in a positive note. You know, if you add insulation to your walls and ceiling, your payback is about 3-5 years, then that money that is being saved is after tax “free” money.

    I don’t know about others, but the less I have to pay to my utilities, the oil companies, etc, and the more I can put away for my kids education, a better/earlier retirement, etc. the happier I am.

    For the record, I burn wood for about 70% of our home heating! Which were I lve you can usually get for free!

    Down with the man! up with the little guy!

  93. We have a problem in British Columbia as the winter has been quite mild do to el Nino. Yes we have snow cover but not much. The provincial government here has blessed us with a carbon tax on gasoline and will be raised this year. There has been reports in media and implied by the David Suzuki foundation that our mild winter is proof of AGW ignoring what is happening over the rest of the world.
    Our mayor in Prince George is factouring in AGW calculating the city snow removal budget.

    Oh I never mentioned that Gorden Campbell, the provincial premier considers himself buds with Arnold Schwarzenegger, governer of California. So it can be seen what we are up against.

    At the Olympics they have a few hydrogen powered buses at a cost of 58 million with the hydrogen trucked in from Quebec! Also snow was trucked and helicoptered in. So much for the green Olympics.

  94. harrywr2 (09:33:50) : “One needs two things for snow, moist air and temperatures below 32F. Warmer oceans provide moist air. Score 1 for Global Warming Crowd.

    “It would appear that more moist air is creating more snow, which has a cooling effect. Score 1 for the skeptics side.”

    No, the moist air condenses into liquid water, deleting the previous score for the Warmist Willie team. Then the rain turns into snow, sleet, and hail. Score 1 for the Skeptics. Final score: Skeptics 1, Warmist Willies 0.

  95. keith in Hastings UK (12:11:32) :

    Amber light went red.
    Pulled over for driving forecasts on a suspended model.
    Changing climate forecast lanes while failing to use the turn signal.
    Driving forecasts the wrong way.
    Speeding peer-review in a residential zone.
    Tampering with climate court records.

    “You in a heap a’ lot of trouble, bwah.” – Sheriff in 70’s commercial.
    It’s Friday.

  96. Now folks, that over there…. that is a troll. You can look at it and listen to it all that you want. But for God’s sake and the rest of our sanity, DO NOT feed it!

  97. In this sort of analysis, it would be best to look at trends in months where temperature changes of the magnitude being proposed (let’s say 1.5-4C, for arguments sake), would make a difference on snow-covered extent. January is clearly not one of these months in most of the northern hemisphere.

    Why not show trends in all months instead of just January? How about March (http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=1&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=3) or April (http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_anom.php?ui_set=1&ui_region=nhland&ui_month=4)?

    Oh wait…

  98. “One of the most striking things about ‘climate scientists’ is how unscientific they seem to be! They don’t seem to pay even lip service to the idea that a theory should be falsifiable – so cold weather is evidence of global warming, just as warm weather would be.”

    I would say 4-5 years averaging what years averaged from 1951-1980, absent some clear explanation like a giant volcano eruption, would seriously call the theory of global warming into question (if there is no warming trend, this ought to be happening half the time). The last time that happened? 1974-1979.

    AGW is perfectly falsifiable — it’s simply that the world, so far, shows no interest in falsifying it.

  99. Ok, I’ve never heard of a mental brownnoser, but it does fit… some other neat words from the thesaurus:

    adulator, backscratcher, backslapper, bootlicker, doormat, fan, fawner, flatterer, flunky, groupie, groveler, handshaker, hanger-on, lackey, minion, parasite, politician, puppet, slave

    Just place “mental” before each of these words…

    I particularly like “mental minion”…. CAGW does make strange bedfellows…

  100. Just got back from the California Academy of Science. Their Climate Change exhibit talked about less snow also. To quote” we could lose the very snowfields that gives us so much”. Maybe they will change the exhibits depending on how much snow fall here is each year.

  101. From a 13 January 2005 article on the GreenPeace site:
    “Ski slopes everywhere, International — Snow machines aren’t going to cut it, and we all know that slush sucks. Research in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, France and Scotland all say the same thing: global warming will affect the winter tourism industry. So far, the nothern hemisphere ski season is suggesting that skiers and snowboarders need to start getting active if they want their sport to survive.
    According to the National Climactic Data Center in the US, the global combined average land and sea temperatures were the warmest on record for September – November 2004. That’s bad news for winter sport. A UN report states the obvious: “Climate change is a severe threat to snow related sports such as skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing”.
    The “threat to the ski industry” meme was also used as an excuse for joining RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) here in the Northeast, so it’s hilarious that they’re now trying to claim that AGW is responsible for all this snow. They really do try very hard to have their carrot cake and eat it too.

  102. Steve, I found the last couple of sentences from the link you posted very interesting, especially the bit I ‘bolded':-

    Decadal to century scale trends in North American snow extent in coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models
    Allan Frei: Department of Geography, Hunter College, Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences, City University of New York, New York, New York, USA

    Gavin Gong: Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

    Two 21st century emission scenarios with realistic (moderate or significant) greenhouse gas emission rates produce decreasing NA-SCE (North American snow cover extent) trends, while one unrealistic scenario with fixed concentrations produces little or no NA-SCE trend.

    These results suggest that snow cover may be a sensitive indicator of climate change, and that North American snow extent will probably decrease in response to greenhouse gas emissions, although the magnitude of the response may be nonlinear.

    So perhaps CO2 is not to blame?

  103. After reading this article and reading Tamino’s reply, not to mention Leif’s cogent observations, it seems to me that Steve’s analysis is misleading in terms of tracking a genuine statistical trend. Whether its for or against AGW, we should not believe something just because we want to. And please no ubuiquitous, “but Tamino is just a holy priest of the AGW order therefore believe nothing he says” reply. Whatever his motivations, his understanding of statistical analysis is obviously greater than most.

  104. rbateman (11:40:42) : the train started by a few hours before you posted a few miles north of Carbondale. 2″ last night, and 5 more so far today. The NWS was calling for 5-10″ in the high mountains by noon 2/20. We should get a lot more than that with 20+ hours to go, and I’m at only 6600′.

  105. Tenuc,

    Looks to me like they are blaming everything on CO2. What they are saying is that no change in CO2 means no snow cover change.

  106. Question…
    If a warmer world equals more moisture & precipitation, what does a drier atmosphere mean?

  107. Steve Goddard (12:14:42) :

    “Actual data” is the last thing that some people want to use. It would put them out of business.

    Yes, but for these fifteen years, they used their models to predict the past – which they seem to have got wrong.

    Well, perhaps Alice could explain it.

  108. johnhayte,

    In Alice in Wonderland, up is down and down is up.

    The climate models predicted down, the climate responded with up, and Tamino is the Mad Hatter.

  109. Steve Keohane (13:54:41) :

    If you are north of me (NW Calif.) then your snow levels are below the 4000-5000′ averages we have been getting. Which is on the cold side for El Nino’s.
    The only other example in my lifetime was 1982-83.

  110. “This should be no surprise… a warming world means a moister atmosphere which means more snow”

    In Florida.
    Of course.
    Its simple.

  111. Robert (12:58:35) :

    AGW is perfectly falsifiable — it’s simply that the world, so far, shows no interest in falsifying it.

    Which world, Robert, the make-it-up-as-you-go-along hearsay world or the real one?
    Previous to this last warm cycle, it was not unusual for late May-June snow-melts in the Midwest and other places to cause havoc on crops and the Mississippi overflowing.
    Seems to me the world now returns to a not-so-pleasant cooler cycle, where erratic patterns dominate.
    In neither case was the end-of-the-world in the cards.
    I for one am glad the ‘we must act quickly and take drastic countermeasures’ proposals got eyed suspiciously. AGW was wrong.

  112. Steve Goddard,

    OK, the plot is for the whole Northern Hemisphere – but my point is that this has occurred at the same time that the measured global temperature is significantly raised.

    It’s an El Nino winter – see Roy Spencer’s Global Average Temperature graph here, also based on the satellite data:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

    It looks like it’s the warmest since that super El Nino of 1998.

    Could it be that raised temperatures actually cause more snowfall? ;-)

    Actually, I doubt that it is anywhere near as simple as that. Comparing your snow extent graph with Roy Spencer’s global temperature graph by eye shows no obvious correlations.

  113. Steve, in your dec-feb_snow_ext.png graph, how did you compute the 2010 data point? There are still 2 weeks of February data to go, and presumably they will lower the average, because at this time of year snow cover is decreasing by 1 million km^2 per week, on average.

    I would not include 2010 in the graph, but if I wanted to include that point, I would average in two weeks that were 1 and 2 million km^2 less than the last value, respectively, and then label it as “(projected)”.

  114. >> Robert (12:58:35) :
    I would say 4-5 years averaging what years averaged from 1951-1980, absent some clear explanation like a giant volcano eruption, would seriously call the theory of global warming into question (if there is no warming trend, this ought to be happening half the time). The last time that happened? 1974-1979.

    AGW is perfectly falsifiable — it’s simply that the world, so far, shows no interest in falsifying it. <<

    We have no accurate global temperatures (you are referring to temperature I presume) before 1979. Would you accept an average of raw LOCAL temperatures from just those sites where there is no local heating?

  115. Mike Edwards,

    The key factors in the UAH anomaly were a warm south Pacific and a strong positive anomaly at 14,000 feet over the Hudson Bay, due to the negative AO. GISS does not show a large spike for January.

    The places with anomalous snowfall also had anomalous cold.

  116. RockyRoad (09:28:31) :

    You’re saying “the climate models have the wrong polarity on their predictions of winter snow cover changes”??

    That’s easy to fix: Just reverse polarity on the batteries and everything will be just fine.

    Duh.

    Then the diodes and other semiconductors blow up or otherwise self-destruct, leaving you with a worthless lump.

    Which doesn’t change the relative value of the climate models, but may make for some smoke and an adrenaline surge.

  117. @MikeC (13:37:35) : “…This should be no surprise… a warming world means a moister atmosphere which means more snow….”

    That’s just plain silly. Snow forms at 32℉ and below. The reason we’re having these record-breaking snows is because moist air, courtesy El Nino, is slamming into air masses at well below 32℉. If the atmosphere is warming, how is this cold air – the driver of snow – to exist and be so prevalent – i.e. covering huge chunks of a given hemisphere? In a warming world, snow should become more rare, more restricted to certain portions of a given hemisphere.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, in a global sense. Now as to current conditions, the moving and collision of cold air masses and wet air masses is the province of weather. However, the extent and vigor of this snowy weather don’t inspire my confidence in a dramatically warming globe. In fact, I suggest we adopt the 400 ways to say “snow” used by the Inuit into the English language.

  118. To; rbateman (12:39:23

    Good one. I was being kind, and trying to be sceptical even about scepticism. Personally, I would turn on every red light for the AGW limo. Mind you, ‘cos of green tax we don’t drive much – UK petrol (gas) is at equivalent $7 per US gallon and set to go higher. Plus surcharges on new low gas mileage/high CO2 cars, and higher p.a. road tax too … $600 p.a. or so. Coming soon to the US of A, I guess, courtesey of AGW…

  119. With the dismal failure of the AGW climate models due to their concentration on the wrong driving forces of the weather and climate, I thought you might like to look at what a model derived from the “Natural Variability Patterns” could do at predicting the next 4 years of daily weather for the continental USA.

    It has several differences from the “Business as usual” NOAA NWS forecast models, in that it uses all raw data from any stations found, considers the periodic influences from the Moon, and is based on past patterns of global circulation, to produce a “Natural Analog Weather Forecast” that works better than “their models.”

    I put this forecast together back in 2007, posted it to web site in December of 2007, has remained there unchanged since, still has maps posted until beginning of January of 2014.

    http://www.aerology.com/national.aspx

    I post it here again to expose an idea to those who say models don’t work, they do if they consider all of the important influences driving the weather and hence the long term patterns, the climate.

    The patterns it produces do not have a solar activity level component figured into the method, so the decrease in solar activity from the reference periods, shows the decrease in temperatures, that could then be insinuated as due to the solar changes, notable as the more southern movement of the Jet streams, although the daily timing of the arrival of the fronts stays sound, and the precipitation patterns stay about the same as forecast, there is a shift to more snow than rain, as noted in the Southeast USA.

    Feel free to look at the daily maps from the past two years, or for the next 4 years. I am currently getting a lot of hits from the AGW team servers in England, it seems they are learning something.

    I thought you might like to keep up with the current forward edge of research in this area.

  120. Interesting non-response/fog/snow-job from Gavin.

    Gavin, can you help me out here?
    A numbr of commentators have stated that increased snow cover (in the U.S.) is consistent with climate change.
    But Frei, A. and G. Gong, (2005). Decadal to Century Scale Trends in North American Snow Extent in Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models. Geophysical Research Letters, 32:L18502, doi: 10.1029/2005GL023394.
    using nine general circulation models (GCMs) of the global atmosphere-ocean system show that all nine models exhibit a clear and statistically significant decreasing trend in 21st century.
    Who is correct here?

    [Response: Frei and Gong are using a single index for snow-cover across North America, but the situation is somewhat spatially and temporally heterogeneous. I haven’t looked into this much myself but you can get a sense from the graphs available on the GISS website (for instance, 20C3M+SRES A1B ensemble). Choose ‘Snow Cover %’, choose a month (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) and a period (1980-2010 say) and plot the trend. You get decreases in the northern US, and slight increases in the southern US depending on month. Thus I’d say the picture is likely to be a little confused over short time periods with a lot of weather-related noise. Intensity of precipitation is forecast to increase pretty much uniformly, and so that might be a contributing factor to the southern US trends, but that is just speculation at this point. The bigger issue is that single years are not climate change, regardless of the sign of the anomaly. – gavin]

  121. OT,

    I see a lot of people here denigrating the hockey stick. But it is real. Here’s how I see it will be created for AR5:

    As the temperatures continue to fall, replace the temperature record (in degrees) with the number of AGW “deniers” to “hide the decline”. Splice the statistics of “number of AGW deniers” on the temperature record beginning in Fall 2009. Grafting two data sets together, like tree-ring width in mm and temperature in degrees, seems standard and legitimate practice in climate science after all. This would easily and undeniably produce a hockey stick graph.

  122. Latest medium range models are showing a 5-10 inches of snow across Texas early next week. NWS is putting up an advisory tonight.

  123. steve said:

    “In Alice in Wonderland, up is down and down is up.

    The climate models predicted down, the climate responded with up, and Tamino is the Mad Hatter.”

    uh, ok. Putting aside the potential influence of mercury poisoning, his points about your statistical analysis seem valid.

  124. Steve Goddard (10:17:55) :

    > Your graphs don’t change anything and you seem to have forgotten that there are several weeks left in 2010 which will probably score in the top 100.

    Your graph’s columns clearly shows the rightmost column starts in 2000. So it ended at the end of 2009.

    >Why all the nitpicking? If you see something fundamentally wrong with the conclusions, fine. I’m not seeing that in your posts.

    This is not nitpicking. It’s peer review pointing out flaws in your paper. I think Leif wouldn’t mind if you replaced your graph with Leif’s and describe it accurately.

    I regret I didn’t see “weekly snow extents (out of 2227)” and do the math. Instead of bar graphs, I’d prefer graphs of the center points of 1, 5, and 10 year averages. They would have the same data points in yours and Leif’s graphs (except your 1960s datum of course) and nearly 30X more.

  125. Robert (12:17:45) :

    Robert; perhaps you would be slightly more credible if you stopped lying and obfuscating?

    Hansen’s predictions were utter BS, you seem a bright fellow so why the lies?

  126. In business, a predictive model that never yields accurate results is promptly junked. In government, the loons repeatedly try to fix the problem by spending enormous sums of taxpayer money making the model bigger and bigger. Got news for you, boys and girls! If the “outas” of a little one can’t even come close to the mark, you have a problem with your “inzas” and your “around-and-aroundas”. Making the thing bigger is not going to help solve your basic problem, even though it will give you bragging rights among your loony peers.

  127. Could it be that raised temperatures actually cause more snowfall? ;-)

    A warmer storm will carry more moisture than a cold Arctic blast.
    Where the two mix you get some real dumpers.
    Comparing this El Nino only back as far as 1998 fails to take in the whole spectrum of strength or relative warmth of El Nino’s.
    2009-2010 is lukewarm so far. Unfortunately for the those East of the Rockies, they get the added pleasure of Canadian Air instrusions.
    Not being a meteorologist, I’ll take a swing at this one:
    1.) string of lukewarm storms approaches West Coast.
    2.) Current jet stream loops around High in Oregon/Wash. and runs warm air all the way up to the Yukon/BC border.
    3.) 1st storm slams into high, breaking it.
    4.) Meanwhile longer loop of warm air has reached Western Canada.
    5.) 2nd storm slams into California plowing on eastward.
    6.) Warm air in BC/Yukon displaces fridgid air and sends it south.
    7.) 2nd storm reaches Rockies at same time blast of Canadian air crosses US border East of Rockies.
    8.) 2nd storm meets Canadian air and dumps at intersection of fronts.
    9.) Warmists blame overheating world for another snowstorm as a parade of them adds insult to injury, pointing to warm Canadian anomaly left by a lukewarm stream of air from modeate El Nino.
    10.) Nobody has paid the slightest bit of never-mind to the 3,000 mile high squished loop of Jet Stream that started all this in motion yesterday.

    How’d I do?

  128. For What It’s Worth –
    – An Observation on the Tone of Recent Blog Comments…

    People are a sensitive lot every day of the week. On Fridays especially. Sometimes, without warning, sometimes with, they find themselves beset with various career, economic, political, medical, family, travel, and/or personal “issues”. For these reasons they’re a little less friendly and courteous than they normally are in public or on the Web. Many times, changes in the weather can also result in this condition; temperature, air pressure, humidity, rain, snow, ice, etc., can all singly or collectively tick people off and make them boil. When these times happen, when you start to show that inner-you, the part of “you” normally hided from everyone, or when you start to slip –even just a little– get some fresh air. Go out and smell the roses.

    No roses? Pretend. But go out and take a deep breath of fresh air. Or Two.

    PS: There seemed to be an unusual edge in the discussion lately.

  129. ” Alan S (15:57:51) :

    Robert (12:17:45) :

    Robert; perhaps you would be slightly more credible if you stopped lying and obfuscating?

    Hansen’s predictions were utter BS, you seem a bright fellow so why the lies?”

    You’re wrong. Given that you introduce no argument and no evidence of any kind, I suspect you know it.

  130. johnhayte,

    So you are suggesting that these trends are actually downwards and match the models?

    Tamino is piling it up pretty thick this time.

  131. “We have no accurate global temperatures (you are referring to temperature I presume) before 1979.”

    We have an instrument record that goes back a hundred a thirty years. On what basis would you argue we ought to throw it out? The satellite data (to which I assume you are referring, agrees well with the ground measurements when the two instruments are pointed in the same place.

  132. We are expecting another 5-6″ of global warming here in the Kansas City area this weekend. I know, I know, weather isn’t climate, but quite frankly, I’m getting tired of hearing that about the warming climate, when the winters keep getting colder and snowier.

  133. Quote: starzmom (16:55:10) :

    “We are expecting another 5-6″ of global warming here in the Kansas City area this weekend. I know, I know, weather isn’t climate, but quite frankly, I’m getting tired of hearing that about the warming climate, when the winters keep getting colder and snowier.”

    Welcome to double-speak!

    Didn’t you notice when we passed through 1984 about a quarter century ago?

    Seriously, keep those snow flakes as a personal gift from Al Gore. We’ve already had more than our fair share of Al’s generosity here in Missouri !

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel in
    The Show-Me State

  134. Robert (12:58:35) :

    AGW is perfectly falsifiable — it’s simply that the world, so far, shows no interest in falsifying it.

    Well there’s always the lack of any statistical warming trend for the last 15 years. Of course, warmers usually stutter and say but there is a positive trend. Now, we have a positive trend and the warmers say but there’s no statistical increase in the trend.

    I wonder if they even realize how this sounds?

    The main problem is the uncertainty in AGW is immense. Once the warmers admit that we can start to get somewhere.

  135. Robert (16:49:54) :

    An instrument record that has been heavily damaged by monkeyfingering and “the dog ate my B-91’s”.

  136. Stephan (09:12:51) :

    This is EXACTLY the kind of argument that is needed and that is why all the old graphs etc must be saved so there is no doubt about it.

    The fact that our side doesn’t have these “less snow” predictions at our fingertips is an important indication that we are not well-funded and well-coordinated, nor that some carbonist consigliere has our ear. If our side weren’t mostly a grass-roots effort, we would have a long-term, thorough, well-organized database of “opposition research” material to employ. The most important would be an extensive collection of thousands of warmist predictions waiting to be shot down.

    Leif Svalgaard (09:58:24) :
    We have to also be aware of not overstating [or conveniently hiding things] our case.

    That sentence, or words to that effect, should be the epigraph in every thread on this site. But, just because snowfall hasn’t increased enough to falsify the models’ predictions, not to mention the CO2 hypothesis, it still has some “weight” as evidence. Just as a declining snowfall trend would have some weight in the other side of the scale. We’re entitled to mutter a soft-spoken “nyah, nyah.”

  137. Superb reportage.
    It is important to nail the Global Warmers failed predictions one by one and not let them switch stories or rewrite what they might have meant.

    Undeniably they always predicted milder winters for USA and everywhere but here beware ‘at least’ – they bleat – ‘the West coast of USA is mild and the winter Olympics in Vancouver are very mild’.
    This again illustrates the need to get to the roots of everything the GWers or their apologists say; and ask could whatever is observed be explained by more CO2?
    The point about the cold and snowy winter in most of the USA is that like all weather it depends on a pressure pattern. In this case on a persistent ridge over the Rockies and THAT also caused the mild west coast. THIS weather pressure and weather pattern of ice and snow in most USA and the consequent mild sliver on the west was predicted in the long range by solar activity (the Solar Weather Technique of long range forecasting), and NOTHING to do with CO2, see: http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews10No9.pdf

    The GWers have 4 problems:
    Their science has failed;
    Their ‘evidence’ is false or fiction;
    Their predictions have all failed and
    They can predict nothing.

    Piers Corbyn, http://www.WeatherAction.com

  138. PS: Another clue that our side is not well-funded or well-coordinated (as charged) is our side’s failure, until Glaciergate, to comb through the IPCC’s Assessment Reports looking for flaws and nits. Such opposition research is so valuable a tactic (as is now being shown) that no political or PR consultant would have failed to insist on it.

  139. Piers Corbyn do you see any Lunar declinational patterns in the use of your forecasting method?

    The pattern I find most use full is 240 cycles of the Lunar declination atmospheric tides in the atmosphere, which is just one 27.32 day cycle short of the Saros cycle period.

    I have not used any solar activity adjustments, and still it shows a good correlation, and possible insight into the effects seen by solar cycle influences.

    copied this snippet below, from the link at top of this entry..

    Richard Mackey (04:34:31) :

    To help better understand the phenomena now clearly visible in that magnificent video, I’ve extracted some relevant segments from my Journal of Energy and Environment paper (VOLUME 20 No. 1 2009)

    The lunar nodal cycle and climate
    The 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle (LNC) tidal periodicity has a pervasive role in climate change. It is the period of a full rotation of the Moon’s orbital plane around the ecliptic, the geometric plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. It is the clearest tidal signal in the thousands of time series analysed.

    The LNC encodes information about the Moon, Earth, Sun geometry that relates to tidal extremes, at least at high latitudes. It defines how the angle of the Moon’s orbit to the Earth’s equatorial plane combines with, or partially cancels out, the tilt in the Earth’s axis. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, during the LNC the Moon moves along a northern latitude about ten degrees from a position about 18.5 degrees north of the equator to one that is 28.5 degrees, which it reaches after 18.6 years.

    The regular sequence of eclipses is a result of the regular, highly predictable rotation of the plane of the Moon’s orbit round the Earth. It has been known since ancient times that eclipses occurred in regular predictable cycles of a little more than 18 years. This period is known as the Saros cycle.

  140. Why does Lief engage in the technique “off axis graphing” method like everyone else, to exaggerate points?

    A vertical axis on the left, going to ZERO with TWO HASH MARKS to indicate the “off access” is better procedure for “scientific” work.

    But then if Lief is an economist, he is forgiven.

  141. Piers, Steven;

    Show the whole story. Let’s see monthly plots of snow covered area, for all months, and for the entire period of record, and let the data speak for themselves. This is not an example of a failed prediction, nor is it superb reportage. It is simply a fail.

  142. jose,

    You imply that the climate models are correct, which means that you believe that snow cover has been decreasing over the last 10-20 years. Good luck with that concept.

  143. Interesting…

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/AOSOI.pdf

    In April 2009, we talked about Mt Redoubt’s eruption (and later Russia’s Sarychev) and the effect it might have on high latitude blocking and cooler summer and winter.

    Oman et al (2005) and others have shown that though major volcanic eruptions seem to have their greatest cooling effect in the summer months, the location of the volcano determines whether the winters are colder or warmer over large parts of North America and Eurasia. According to their modeling, tropical region volcanoes like El Chichon and Pinatubo actually produce a warming in winter due to a tendency for a more positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO). In the positive phase of these large scale pressure oscillations, low pressure and cold air is trapped in high latitudes and the resulting more westerly jet stream winds drives milder maritime air into the continents.

    It goes on to explain how volcanic eruption location makes for colder and snowier NH winters… You might like this Steve.

  144. kadaka (14:56:11) :

    RockyRoad (09:28:31) :

    “You’re saying “the climate models have the wrong polarity on their predictions of winter snow cover changes”??

    That’s easy to fix: Just reverse polarity on the batteries and everything will be just fine.

    Duh.

    Then the diodes and other semiconductors blow up or otherwise self-destruct, leaving you with a worthless lump.

    Which doesn’t change the relative value of the climate models, but may make for some smoke and an adrenaline surge.”

    May I suggest the easiest trick to fix this problem is to invert the graph and use it as is, upside down. IIRC this is a method with some precedent in climate “science.” Oh, mann.

  145. @ Leif Svalgaard (10:01:13) re Will’s graphics:

    I was curious also and looked into the page source for that matter. Quite simple if you have an URL.

  146. The North America Winter snow extent graph: how is that defined?

    Maximum during the winter?

    Some sort of mean through the period?

    Makes a difference in how you intepret what it mean…..

  147. Robert (11:29:43) : It’s not a strawman.

    do you really think that

    “several references to the idea that more intense storms may be more common in a warming world”

    is different in meaning to:

    “recent winter storms.. proof of global warming.”

    then if you do, a career in law, with its subtle nuances of distinguishing one word from another, is for you.

    I would think most people would see these arguments as identical.

    AR4 referred to more warm events and fewer cold events. I think they were wrong.

  148. Robert (16:49:54) : “We have an instrument record that goes back a hundred a thirty years. ”

    Yes we do Robert – and what does it show?

    I quote:

    “The Central England Temperature (CET) record, starting in 1659 and maintained by the UK Met Office, is the longest unbroken temperature record in the world.

    Temperature data is averaged for a number of weather stations regarded as being representative of Central England rather than measuring temperature at one arbitrary geographical point identified as the centre of England.

    A Scottish Chemist, Wilson Flood, has collected and analysed the 351 year CET record. “Summers in the second half of the 20th century were warmer than those in the first half and it could be argued that this was a global warming signal. However, the average CET summer temperature in the 18th century was 15.46 degC while that for the 20th century was 15.35 degC.

    Far from being warmer due to assumed global warming, comparison of actual temperature data shows that UK summers in the 20th century were cooler than those of two centuries previously.”

    and the second oldest continuous record?

    Prague’s Clementinum hosts the world’s second oldest continuously working weather station. The records go back to 1770 and haven’t been interrupted or modified since 1775.

    Luboš Motl Pilsen undertook a statistical analysis with the conclusion that ” you can’t see any unexceptional behavior in the late 20th century. “

  149. There’s a large and increasing list of AGW predictions that are turning out as to be as wrong as it’s almost possible to be. In any normal science this would pretty well have destroyed AGW as a serious theory. But hey, (as Steve M likes to say) this is climate science….

    To Piers Corbyn,
    Very nice to hear from you. Keep up the good work!
    Chris

  150. Ric Werme,

    When people publicly nitpick about minor details, they create the impression that they disagree with the conclusions. Read the comments about Leif on Tamino’s site for reference. Everyone over there is convinced that Leif is saying that there is no upwards trend in snow cover.

    Peer review normally occurs before publication and behind the scenes, and takes months or years. Do you see the climate science community publicly airing minor disagreements?

    Leif’s graph is more accurate along the X-axis, but is less accurate along the (more important) Y-axis. 2000 had three top 100 years, and I surmised that 2010 still had three missing top 100 years – based on the past week and the weather forecasts. So by munging 2010 into the 2000 decade I probably came up with the correct height of the bar, whereas Leif’s was too low. In the absence of complete 2010 data, there was no completely clean way to make the graph. And by including the partial 1960s data I accounted for all 100 weeks.

    There are good reasons why I constructed the graph the way I did. It is not misleading about the trend since the 1970s, which was the point. If you or Leif disagree with the point or the conclusions, fire away – but don’t nitpick about minor points in this forum, please. Do that in private.

  151. It seems to this groping layman that while heating increases evaporation, thus injecting more water vapor into the atmosphere, precipitation, in whatever form, requires cooling.

    Or maybe I don’t know my dry bulb from my wet bulb?

  152. jose (21:36:59) :

    “Show the whole story. Let’s see monthly plots of snow covered area, for all months, and for the entire period of record, and let the data speak for themselves. This is not an example of a failed prediction, nor is it superb reportage. It is simply a fail.}
    Help me out Jose. I thought the model predictions were for northern hemisphere winter snow cover, predicting a decreasing trend, and that the data showed the opposite sign and an increasing trend over the same period.
    It looks to me like the models “fail”, not the article. Please feel free to explain what I missed, and link to your own graph.

  153. rbateman (14:05:47) : Steve Keohane (13:54:41) : I’m at about 39°N28′, but in western Colorado. They have upped the forecast ante from 5-10″ on 2/19 to 36″ as of this morning. I-70 is closed both directions at Vail Pass, there are avalanches on the highway, and CDOT is setting off more so they don’t happen naturally. I have another new foot to clear this morning, which better get done so I don’t have two to move later.

  154. And the spring and summer snow cover are declining, as predicted.

    since 1995 spring and summer snow cover appear to be rising

  155. Leif Svalgaard (10:01:13) :

    > Question:
    > Willis, how did you manage to include an image in your comment?

    Willis didn’t post in this thread, I think you’re referring to
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/18/why-is-winter-snow-extent-interesting/#comment-322340 .

    I looked at the source, and there’s nothing special there:

    <p><img src=”http://homepage.mac.com/williseschenbach/.Pictures/Northern_Hemisphere_Snow_Area.jpg” alt=”Snow area” /></p>

    My guess is that Willis has special privileges that allow him to make guest posts and perhaps that includes the ability to use <img>.

    (I think this will post as I intended. Apologies if WordPress thinks differently than I do.)

  156. Steve Goddard;
    mods if this thread is dead please post as appropriate or perhaps e-mail Steve?

    If you are studying NA snowfall extent I may have stumbled across a proxy that you might be interested in. I live in Winnipeg which has pretty harsh winters. Snow that lands in November doesn’t melt until spring. Melting periods in spring are pretty short, so when there is a lot of snow, we get serious flooding. The major river in the area is the Red River which has a catchment area 500 km long and combined with the Assiniboia about 30,000 km^2. I would think that peak flow rates would be pretty much proportional to total winter snowfall in the catchment area. There’s some pretty decent data available about annual peak flow rate back to 1892:

    http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/floods/redriver/historical_e.php

    estimated flow rates of major flood years back to 1826:

    http://cgc.rncan.gc.ca/floods/redriver/table1_e.php

    and a reconstruction identifying major flood years going back 400 years:

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/stem/mrd/geo/pflood/p_pdfs/geoscientificcontributions.pdf

    The flow rate data stops at 2000, but I can advise that we had flooding in 2009, though not as massive as in 1997. In brief, lotsa snow lately but I don’t see a trend that jumps out at me vs temp, or co2. sunspots perhaps?

  157. Steve Goddard (05:30:31) wrote:
    > …
    > When people publicly nitpick about minor details, they create the
    > impression that they disagree with the conclusions.
    > …
    That is simply not the case. Nobody is more strongly opposed to the insanity that is the AGW scam than I am. It is precisely for that reason that we need to be above reproach when presenting data. The crowd-sourced “peer-review” that you have been receiving here is a strength of the grass-roots process. Your article makes a convincing case that the decrease in Winter snow cover predicted by the AGW models has been proven dead wrong, and that the decrease in Summer snow might be better explained by soot than by warming. That should be enough.

    Leif and I disagree with your conclusion that recent Winters have defined a new upward snow trend that is distinct from the range of variation seen in the last 43 years, and I have defended my disagreement with objective measures of the data. That doesn’t mean we are haters on the side of AGW.

    You can see my relevant graphs at my blog (click on my nickname) or by going here (I wish I could post pictures like Willis did):

    You still haven’t said how you computed the Winter 2010 snow data point with 1-2 weeks of February remaining. This time of year the NH snow decreases at an average rate of 1 million km^2 per week, so the remaining weeks will almost certainly bring the average for the season down.

    Best Regards,
    -Peter

  158. caveman,

    No one said the trend was outside the range of the last 43 years. Those are your words. What I said is that there was an upwards trend for the last 20 years. Period.

  159. Pierce – {and the winter Olympics in Vancouver are very mild’}

    Just our way of making our guests feel welcome. Watching the games on the tube has been nothing if not phenomenal with the beautiful blue skies as a backdrop, and gorgeous evergreens standing guard. If you look closely at the shots from in town, you can see the Japanese Cherries already starting to bloom. Magnificent!

    And people actually able to watch comfortably, not having to be zipped up in parkas so thick that they can’t really move (alla the movie ” A Christmas Story).

    Also the golf courses are not so busy right now!

  160. MikeC (13:37:35) :
    “This should be no surprise… a warming world means a moister atmosphere which means more snow”
    +++++++

    I don’t mean to pick on you Mike, but there are several repetitions of this ‘moister means more snow’ in these posts and occasionally on other threads.

    One of the fallacies promoted by AGW proponents is ‘Because the atmosphere is warmer it will evaporate more water and therefore rain more because the air will be wetter.’ What follows also applies to ‘cloudiness’.

    I want to caution that wetness is relative. The air above the moister air will also be warmer, and the air above that and so on because the warming is ‘global’. In order to have precipitation air has to cool to the dew point. The temperature is irrelevant. If it is warmer rather than cooler, it won’t rain (or snow) any more than it does now because it will cool less by the same amount that it is warmer elsewhere.

    Although the absolute humidity of the air will be higher when it is warmer, the relative humidity is very likely to stay exactly the same – it has to do with the amount of ocean surface, primarily. It will rapidly move to an equilibrium (on global average) in a day or two. A 2 degree Kelvin rise in temperature (0.6%) will pick that much more moisture and hold onto it, raising the baseline.

    Just being warmer will not detectably yield more precipitation because the dew point will also rise, as will the temperature to which things cool.

    The snowfall (instead of rainfall) pattern in the US this year is the result of lower temperatures, not Global Warming as there hasn’t been any for years. It is not because of Global Cooling either, because there hasn’t been much of that. It is an El Nino event combined with a longer term deepening (North-South) of the jet streams. This deepening was beautifully demonstrated last year when the Northern States of the US were rained on (massively) because of the ‘Omega’ wind pattern which stalled on its Eastbound track. Again this NH winter the deepening was evident several times.

    Yes I know there are other processes and atmospheric limitations and possible drying of the upper atmosphere from increased storm height, larger ocean surface area which will cause other effects… My main point is that it won’t rain or snow a lot more if it is warmer. In order for that to happen, the warmer air would have to be over the ocean and it would have to /not/ be warmer over land – extremely unlikely. And if there were to happen the warming would not be global.

    Warmer/cooler world: substantially the same precipitation.

  161. Steve Goddard (22:37:40) :
    davidmhoffer,
    That is very interesting and useful information, thanks>

    If you do anything serious with it I would appreciate knowing about it. I’ve “lived” through a lot of that data so would be pretty interested. 1997 was an exciting year, the “lake” surface that formed exceeded the lake surface of one of the Great Lakes, and the flooding in 1826 was supposedly much larger. There’s also an 800 year tree ring chronology to reconstruct precipitation records for the same area that doesn’t show the flood year spikes at all (tree rings don’t record info in the winter, who knew!) that I can find again if you want.

    In any event, additional questions or results from your work, please feel free to email me david.hoffer@mts.net

  162. Given that the earth is neither covered with ice nor ice free, it is axiomatic that if you measure snowfall trends over a long enough period of time, the slope is necessarily close to zero.

    That in no way indicates that there are not periods of time when snowfall increases or decreases. Climate is neither linear nor monotonic. This obsession with trying to fit long periods of climate data to straight lines is irrational. Longer is not necessarily better. Sometimes it is better to use scientific judgement rather than jumping into meaningless statistical analysis.

  163. to:Crispin in Waterloo (00:35:39)

    Thank you, you put into words what has been bgging me about the “warmer = more moister = more precipitation = more snow in winter” AGW remix argument. RH, of course! More argument down the pub (bar)….

  164. Steve Goddard (08:22:11) :
    As a further sign that all the snow is due to global warming, Europe just came within a couple of degrees of breaking their all-time record lowest temperature>

    Steve, Steve, Steve,
    We’ve already had it explained to us that Europe was warm for a couple of centuries but it was “local”. So I imagine this is just “local” too, Europe as a continent doesn’t participate in global climate.

    BTW found that Red River Basin tree ring study, page 13. Don’t tell Briffa or Mann that the oak trees in my back yard have called his larch trees liars, they’ll try and core them or something. The study doesn’t purport to be a temperature proxy, they even show that temperature has a slight negative affect. But if you DID look at it as temperature, Briffa et al would have some explaining to do. The curve doesn’t look like the long term European curve, but we’re way inland here, so ocean current don’t affect us the same way. That said, lots of growth a few hundred years ago that exceeds current. I checked to see if the major floods showed up, and they did not, further evidence that all kinds of important things happen in the winter that tree rings don’t measure.

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/stem/mrd/geo/pflood/p_pdfs/climaticextremesinsmb.pdf

    threw a quick post up on my blog if you just want to do a quick compare:

    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/red-river-and-red-oak-speak-out-larch-trees-lied/

  165. Dr. A Burns,

    The article is about model predictions of winter snow cover. Winter is the season when snow cover is maximum. Please reread and try again.

  166. I don’t know how you can compare reality to predicted without discussing the stated error bar ranges of the predictions. Given the annual and decadal variability in winter snow cover I would estimate that any GCM derived 20-yr prediction would be something like -.01 +/- .15 million sq km/yr in which case the model prediction is not invalidated. The effect of climate change over 20 years is so minimal it is drowned out by natural variation. I assume that studies predicting winter extent contained formal error estimates due to natural variation, and would be interested to see if the observed trend falls outside of those predicted error ranges.

  167. Andrew P,

    This winter has been a near record setting winter for snow cover. Is that confirmation of a model which predicts declining snow cover? The winter of 2008 saw the third greatest snow extent ever recorded. Is that consistent with models that predict declining snow cover?

  168. In science, predictions are never confirmed they are only invalidated. I do not know if these model predictions have been invalidated because I do not know what their stated error range is for a 20-yr prediction. As I said before, because on a 20-yr timescale natural variation would drown out almost any climate signal, my guess is that the observed trend is not outside the error ranges. But without knowing the error ranges for these models, none of us know.

    Any regular WUWT reader should be familiar with these types of calculations. Several authors here and people cited here have shown that GCM temperature predictions are on the edge of being invalidated. That is, the observed 12-yr temperature trend falls just inside the lower bound error range given by models. Were we to see a return to recent ’08-09 temperatures following this El Nino, they would be statistically invalidated outside of a 95% confidence interval, as the work of some like Lucia have shown. You haven’t performed such an analysis.

  169. Steve Goddard (22:24:30) :

    caveman,

    No one said the trend was outside the range of the last 43 years. Those are your words. What I said is that there was an upwards trend for the last 20 years. Period.

    Yeah, but that still gives the warmists a nit to pick, by claiming that your trend doesn’t meet 95% significance level. It would be better to make a more modest claim that leaves them with no comeback. For instance, by quoting the exact words of some of their predictions, and then showing how they have failed to come true. That’s enough. Anything more offers them an opportunity to raise a diversion that clouds the essential issue.

  170. Andrew P,

    Statistical analysis would be interesting if were predicting a trend into the future. I am not making any predictions, so the statistics are meaningless and an unwanted distraction.

    It is quite clear that the negative projections of the GCMs have been incorrect so far. It requires no statistical analysis to see that snow extent has not been declining the last twenty years.

  171. If the current 20-yr observational trend is within the range of error predicted by the models then they are not incorrect.

    If I predicted 6-12″ of snow tomorrow and we got 11.5 would you say I was wrong because we didn’t get exactly 9?

  172. Andrew P,

    Climate models predicted declining winter snow extent. Snow extent has increased. If the error bar is great enough to absorb the opposite polarity, then it isn’t much of a forecast, is it?

  173. No, it probably was never intended to be much use at forecasting on 20-yr timescales. I’m sure the error range for the trendline decreases rapidly for longer time periods in which natural variability would play a smaller role than climate change. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the trend has been so positive for the last 20 years it falls outside the error ranges or just inside them. I was just commenting that we can’t know but I would be curious if you could find a source which tried to quantify the error range. You also have to be careful because the 20-yr trend MIGHT be outside the error range but the 30-yr trend is not. Basically your conclusions cannot be very strong or interesting unless you show the models are invalidated by having an observed trend line outside of the error ranges for the models which would be pretty large for a 20 year period.

  174. Insane…global warming is such a misuse of the characterization of what is going on. Climate change means that there is more energy in the atmosphere (at least, this time around) and that the global and regional weather patterns are going to become more erratic and extreme. A temperature change of 20C to 30C still means that it can snow, but the higher temperature means that there can be more humidity in the air, and as a result more snow. The truth is that the science is getting better, and the need for accurate and un-biased data has never been needed more than now.

    And besides…petroleum makes our enemies rich. Who cares about the climate? We’re all gonna be dead before the sh*t hits the fan anyway.

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