Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent Second Highest on Record

Guest post by Steven Goddard

According to Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, last week’s Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent was the second highest on record, at 52,166,840 km2.  This was only topped by the second week in February, 1978 at 53,647,305 km2.  Rutgers has kept records continuously for the last 2,227 weeks, so being #2 is quite an accomplishment.

Daily Snow – February 13, 2010 (Day 44)

Source : Rutgers University Global Snow Lab

According to Rutgers University data through mid February, Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent has been increasing at a rate of over 100,000 km2 per year.

As discussed on WUWT, the implication is that Northern Hemisphere snow cover has only extended this far south one other time, since Rutgers University started keeping records.  Additionally, North American snow extent broke its all time record last week. Canada is normally completely covered with snow in the winter (except for Olympic venues) so the implication is that the US had more snow last week than has been seen in at least the last 44 years.

Two of the fundamental precepts of global warming theory are that the tropics are supposed to expand, and the Arctic is supposed to warm disproportionately and shrink.

Expanding tropics ‘a threat to millions’

By Steve Connor, Science Editor The Independent

Monday, 3 December 2007

The tropical belt that girdles the Earth is expanding north and south, which could have dire consequences for large regions of the world where the climate is likely to become more arid or more stormy, scientists have warned in a seminal study published today. Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the tropics by pushing their boundaries towards the poles at an unprecedented rate not foreseen by computer models, which had predicted this sort of poleward movement only by the end of the century.

Arctic Ice Melting at Alarming Pace as Temperatures Rise

New studies show that the region is warming even faster than many scientists had feared

By Thomas Omestad

Posted December 16, 2008

New studies being released this week indicate that climate change is exerting massive and worrying change on the Arctic region—reducing the volume of ice, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere, and dramatically raising air temperatures in some parts of the Arctic.  The findings will give fresh urgency to international deliberations on the next global climate change pact planned for December 2009 in Copenhagen. The studies also will likely intensify international pressure on the incoming Obama administration to embrace major cuts in the emission of greenhouse gases in an effort to help stabilize global temperatures.  NASA scientists will reveal that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice on Greenland and Alaska, along with in Antarctica, have melted since 2003. Satellite measurements suggest half of the loss has come from Greenland. Melting of land ice slowly raises sea levels.

The World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, is also reporting that ice volume in the Arctic this year fell to its lowest recorded level to date.

Experts from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado will further reveal that temperatures this fall in some Arctic areas north of Alaska were 9 or 10 degrees Fahrenheit above average. The long-predicted phenomenon is known as “Arctic amplification.” As global air temperatures increase, the Arctic tends to show greater changes because the ice pack that once reflected solar heat is reduced in scope. More heat is therefore absorbed. The study is being discussed at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

The last time that snow extended this far south was in the 1970s, when climatologists were worried about the onset of an ice age, and some suggested that we needed to melt the polar ice caps by covering them with soot.

The Cooling World

Newsweek, April 28, 1975

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

Science: Another Ice Age?

Time Magazine Monday, Jun. 24, 1974

Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.

During the 1970s the southern snow cover was seen as a sign of an impending ice age, and the solution was to melt the polar ice caps.  In 2010, the nearly identical snow cover is a sign of out of control global warming and the solution is to shut down modern civilization.

Ice age or a fiery tipping point?  What do readers think?

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Henry chance

Expanding snow and ice coverage. It is observable and in no way supports the claim of melting and sea level rising.

Phillip Bratby

Looks like a hockey stick coming up. A dangerous looking one if it continues. Catastrophic snow increases. The governments will know how to stop this global cooling.


As anyone who has seen “The Day After Tomorrow” knows, a sure sign of runaway global warming is a complete global freeze.
Obvious, in’it?


2010-44 = 1966.
Guess that puts it right back into the last cooling period.
That was quick.
So much for barbecue weather in winter.
AGW ran up the hill to roast a pair of Ice Caps,
AGW fell down, and broke it’s crown, and snow came tumbling after.

Here in Lincoln, NE, we’ve had continuous snow cover since the first week of December, over 10 weeks. This is the longest stretch of snow cover in the 18 years I’ve lived here.
And since snow cover limits daytime warming, it hasn’t gone above 45 F in that period (most of the time, of course, it’s far below freezing).


… do you have any data on snow depth? We haven’t had much snow this winter in Newfoundland (so far).

Steve Goddard

Cities along the Colorado Front range have had snow cover most of the time since the first week in October. My favorite UEA mail below:

From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer
Hi all
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies
baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).


Just wishful thinking: “Breaking News: Al Gore’s house collapses after a giant snow storm completely covered the Nobel Peace Prize laurate’s residence”

The Gore Effect.

Imagine the entrenched bureaucratic arrogance had we in 1975 put our climate fate in the hands of “scientists.” Their trillion dollar efforts would have apparently yielded such great success by the 1990s we’d be facing dangerous warming. Except this time they’d have had decades of power consolidation with which to implement their will. Thus more trillions later we find ourselves with smug super EPA types taking credit for the last decade of climate stability.
Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if your LED hall lights were suddenly illegal?

Steve Goddard

According to Accuweather, Europe is buried in unusually deep snow.

L Nettles

You almost the that the weather comes in cycles with extremes followed by reversion toward the mean.


Looks like panic has set in over at RealClimate…read the comments

Latimer Alder

Surely this was retrospectively forecast as part of AGW-theory. Or if it wasn’t it soon will be.
And if it really wasn’t, then its weather…not climate.
Remember : more snow = global warming
Less snow = less precipitation = drought = global warming

Darell C. Phillips

I don’t know but I keep dreaming of an image of Al Gore surrounded by people pelting him with snowballs…


Maybe this is how ice ages come about.


Haven’t you heard? More snow is a sign the planet is warming!!
This is preciesely what my True Believer(tm) friends telling me. I wish I was kidding.
It’s really incredible how they rationalize….


Let’s keep checking for the onset of spring as evidenced by ice breakup in rivers and other signs. Will the extensive snow cover delay it this year?

James F. Evans

Warming: The snow line moves North.
Cooling: The snow line moves South.
Easy to understand.
And next to impossible to justify the idea that Global Warming means more snow farther south.


Is there an equivalent chart to dec-feb_snow_ext.png for the Southern Hemisphere?


Perhaps this is the beginning of a runaway global cooling effect. The interglacials lasted normally 11,500 years and this interglacial is excactly 11,500 years old.
Ice age is coming and all we can do is put more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere to compensate its devastating effects.


Precisely what is expected from Global Warming.
“According to Rutgers University data through mid February, Northern Hemisphere snow extent has been increasing at a rate of over 100,000 km2 per year.”
Dear God! How long do we have, before Global Warming pushes the snow line down to the equator?


After big snows big melts and big floods follow..unless it happens an improbable repetition of a “year without a summer”.
Let’s wait and see. Any forecasts?

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley

realclimate have posted a thread on the UK TV coverage about-face. Instead of getting their usual support they seem to be getting some stick for not correcting the ridiculous warming scare stories of the past. Join in!

L Nettles

You would almost think that weather comes in cycles with extremes followed by reversions towards the mean. Its a radical idea I know.


“Man is making the earth too warm, Threat of melting polar caps”, it quoted a prominent physicist as saying that the levels of the oceans could rise 12m and flood vast areas of the Earth in the next half century unless atmospheric temperatures were controlled.
Dr Joseph Kaplan, professor of physics at the University of California. Dr Kaplan said the melting of the ice caps was being speeded by man’s tremendous use of oil and gas which was “changing the Earth’s atmosphere”.
Source: The New Zealand Herald. The year: Tuesday, April 9, 1957
The 50 years have come and gone but his predictions have come to naught.

Peter Miller

The good guys are definitely winning.
I have just read Real Climate’s weekly blurb and a lot of the accompanying comments.
Not a sniff of real science or facts, as in your posts. Just abuse, whines and hysterics.
It is well worth a read, because it really is a little sad.


2010-44 = 1966.
Guess that puts it right back into the last cooling period.
Also the year England won the World Cup. Here’s hoping more than climate goes in cycles!


The snows will end when spring will come, and it will be soon.
I bet nobody can debunk this: “winters have been getting shorter — spring arrives 10-14 days earlier than it did 20 years ago”


Kevin Trenbeth is a blatant liar:
“Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the chapter of the IPCC report that deals with the observed temperature changes, said he accepted there were problems with the global thermometer record but these had been accounted for in the final report.
“It’s not just temperature rises that tell us the world is warming,” he said. “We also have physical changes …. snow cover in the northern hemisphere has declined.

Tom P

Steven Goddard:
“According to Rutgers University data through mid February, Northern Hemisphere snow extent has been increasing at a rate of over 100,000 km2 per year.”
Not if you plot all the data:
or look at the summer extent:
The overall effect is shown here:


Everyone knows it is snow volume that is important – not area.
(It is a rotten snow anyway)

John Galt

Has anybody run any tree ring proxies on this?

Brian D Finch

It’s déja vu all over again…


The global climate fraud being exposed these days is mind bogglingly overwhelming. I first heard about the previous topic about the Antarctic ice extent being underestimated by 50% on the Alex Jones radio interview with Lord Monckton. This revelation is huge.
Let me make a relevant observation concerning planetary pollution.
If the US manufacturing base was not shipped overseas to China and other 3rd world countries, The current pollution level of the planet would have been significantly reduced. 3rd world countries do not have pollution control laws in place like the US does. We have laws that require scrubbers on smoke stacks as well as laws that require pollution control devices installed on automobiles such as catalytic converters.
So let me be very clear about this observation;

View from the Solent

“Ice age or a fiery tipping point?”
Or maybe just weather?


Is it Alaska??
Nah, its North Carolina…..LOL
Norfolk, VA, USA


According to Rutgers University data through mid February, Northern Hemisphere snow extent has been increasing at a rate of over 100,000 km2 per year …”
And in Antarctica
“Satellite images show that since the 1970s the extent of Antarctic sea ice has increased at a rate of 100,000 square kilometres a decade.” (4/09)
Snow coverage increasing in the Northern Hemisphere and sea ice increasing in Antarctica, yet the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports:
“February 3, 2010
Despite cool temperatures, ice extent remains low
Despite cool temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean in January, Arctic sea ice extent continued to track below normal. By the end of January, ice extent dropped below the extent observed in January 2007. Ice extent was unusually low in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic, the one major area of the Arctic where temperatures remained warmer than normal.
Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for January 2010 was 13.78 million square kilometers (5.32 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data.
Arctic sea ice extent averaged for January 2010 was 13.78 million square kilometers (5.32 million square miles). This was 1.08 million square kilometers (417,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for January, but 180,000 square kilometers (69,000 square miles) above the record low for the month, which occurred in January 2006.
Ice extent remained below normal over much of the Atlantic sector of the Arctic, including the Barents Sea, part of the East Greenland Sea, and in Davis Strait. The only region with above-average ice extent was on the Pacific side of the Bering Sea”
Is the “problem” that “normal” is based only on a 12 year average?
I realize we need many decades of data to see the effect of all known and to be discoverd factors that determine ice extent.
Isn’t there a data base of Arctic Ice extent going back further in time using shipping records and ice research vessels?


welcome to the cold PDO.
enjoy your 30 year stay.


JonesII (10:41:31) :
I haven’t heard of his literal house collapsing yet.
Can you picture Al with a snow shovel? Say ‘cheese’.

Brian D Finch

I think the late Scots poet Hugh McDiarmid (who is unlikely to have been a warmist), best described it thus:
Lourd on my hert as winter lies
The state that Scotland’s in the day.
Spring to the North has aye come slow
Bot noo dour winter’s like to stay
For guid,
And no’ for guid!
O wae’s me on the weary days
When it is scarce grey licht at noon;
It maun be a’ the stupid folk
Diffusin’ their dullness roon and roon
Like soot
That keeps the sunlicht oot.
Nae wonder if I think I see
A lichter shadow than the neist
I’m fain to cry: ‘The dawn, the dawn!
I see it brakin’ in the East.’
But ah
– It’s juist mair snaw!


kyle (11:20:49) : Wrote
“The snows will end when spring will come, and it will be soon.
I bet nobody can debunk this: “winters have been getting shorter — spring arrives 10-14 days earlier than it did 20 years ago”
Winters are arriving much earlier in the year now too. This is because of the 3 year long solar minimum. Snow storms were wide spread across the US this past October, Snow on many pumpkins if you could find one. Pumpkins were in short supply last year because of the early winter and crop failures.
Do a little research Kyle.
Broomfield CO snow storm in late October 2009

Steve Goddard

Tom P,
My bad. I meant to say “winter snow extent has been increasing at 100,000km2 per year” which is the latest value on the spreadsheet since 1989.


I suggest that we spray soot over some specific spot, that way all the heat will go there. I mean after all they were going to spray soot on the north pole to fend of the oncoming ice age back in the 70s. Using the science developed and reported in several beer-reviewed journals it may be possible to concentrate all global warming on to the uninhabited island of Rockall if we spray enough soot on it. President Obama is currently readying a plan which he will submit to Congress which will request 800 bn for a soot jobs stimulus package. The inhabitants of Rockall (primarily seagulls) were unavailable for comment.

PeterB in Indianapolis

Nick B.
Dec-Feb in the Sothern Hemisphere is the season of Summer, so one would hope that snow and ice extent in the Sothern Hemisphere for Dec – Feb is not all that great. Perhaps winter snow and ice extent for the Southern Hemisphere would be more appropriate?


AGW is rumored to be considering a move to Venus.
Reason given: Homesick.
That’s funny, I could have sworn the War of the Worlds didn’t end like this.

Steve Goddard

DMI shows current Arctic ice extent as highest in their record for the current date.

PeterB in Indianapolis

Spring HAS BEEN coming sooner than it did 20 years ago; however, I doubt that that is what you will see in the Spring of 2010. Heavy snow-cover over a large extent of the Northern Hemisphere will delay spring. Snow cover increases albedo, and melting snow takes up energy which would normally cause heating. It is possible that spring will come early this year, but it isn’t very likely.

Steve Goddard

There is very little land in the Southern Hemisphere that ever accumulates snow, outside of Antarctica and high mountain peaks. The southern continents are too far away from the pole.


Checklist for all SH visitors travelling to the NH.
1. Thermal underwear. 2. Snow boots. 3. Crampons. 4. Ice hammer. 5. Thermal snow suit. 6. Beach towel. 7. Sun block (+100). 8. Baggies. 9. Umbrella (sun/rain). 10. Heater. 11. Fan. 12. Balaclava. 13. Sun hat. 14. Hot chocolate. 15. Kool Aid – Check