There have been a number of indications that January 2008 has been an exceptional month for winter weather in not only North America, but the entire Northern Hemisphere.
We’ve had anecdotal evidence of odd weather in the form of wire reports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and China where record setting cold and snow has been felt with intensity not seen for 30-100 years, depending on the region.
From our remote sensing groups, we have reports of significant negative anomalies in both the RSS and UAH global satellite data for the lower troposphere. The there’s NOAA’s announcement that January 2008, was below 20th century averages, plus news that Arctic sea ice has quickly recovered from the record low extent of Summer 2007. Finally, there’s the massive La Nina said to be the driver of all this but may be a harbinger of a more permanent phase shift according to veteran forecaster Joe Bastardi.
Now to add to this, we have images and reports from NOAA and Rutgers University of large anomalies of snow cover extent for the northern hemisphere in January 2008.
First lets start with NOAA’s Snow and Ice chart for January 31st, 2008
Click image to see animated snow/ice cover. Java required
Next let us look at the Rutgers Global Snow Lab map of the Northern Hemisphere for January 2008. Note the key at the bottom of the image indicating coverage by percent.
Here is how the map above breaks down by area:
Northern Hemisphere: 50.13 million sq. km
Eurasia: 32.30 million sq. km
North America: 17.83 million sq. km
And finally, Rutgers Global Snow Lab has an anomaly graph:
January 2008 had the largest areal Northern Hemisphere snow cover for the period of 1966-2008, just slightly larger than the previous largest anomaly of January, 1984.
Here are the rankings for the top 10 months, ranked by Northern Hemisphere coverage. January 2008 comes in second to Feburary of 1978.
Table above in millions of square kilometers
Yes, we live in interesting times.
(h/t Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.)