2001-2010 was the Snowiest Decade on Record

Guest post by Steven Goddard

Snow blankets New York City. Al Gore (below) claims the increased  snow is due to global warming.

Snow blankets New York City. Photo: Del Mundo, New York Daily News

Photo above from: NY Daily News: Record Snowfall in New York

Now that we have reached the end of the meteorological winter (December-February,) Rutgers University Global Snow Lab numbers (1967-2010) show that the just completed decade (2001-2010) had the snowiest Northern Hemisphere winters on record.  The just completed winter was also the second snowiest on record, exceeded only by 1978.  Average winter snow extent during the past decade was greater than 45,500,000 km2, beating out the 1960s by about 70,000 km2, and beating out the 1990s by nearly 1,000,000 km2.  The bar chart below shows average winter snow extent for each decade going back to the late 1960s.

Here are a few interesting facts.

  • Average winter snow extent has increased since the 1990s, by nearly the area of Texas and California combined.
  • Three of the four snowiest winters in the Rutgers record occurred during the last decade – the top four winters are (in order) 1978, 2010, 2008, 2003
  • The third week of February, 2010 had the second highest weekly extent (52,170,000 m2) out of the 2,229 week record

The bar graph below shows winter data for each year in the Rutgers database, color coded by decade.  The yellow line shows the mean winter snow extent through the period.  Note that the past decade only had two winters below 45 million km2.  The 1990s had seven winters below the 45 million km2, the 1980s had five winters below 45 million km2, and the 1970s had four winters below 45 million km2.  This indicates that the past decade not only had the most snowfall, but it also had the most consistently high snowfall, year over year.

It appears that AGW claims of the demise of snowfall have been exaggerated.  And so far things are not looking very good for the climate model predictions of declining snowfall in the 21st century.

Many regions of the Northern Hemisphere have seen record snowfall this winter, including Washington D.C, Moscow, China, and Korea.  Dr. Hansen’s office at Columbia University has seen record snowfall, and Al Gore has ineptly described the record snow :

“Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm,”

A decade long record across the entire Northern Hemisphere is not appropriately described as a “snowstorm.”


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Good work Steve.

Pascvaks

Warmest? and Snowiest? Somehow I just knew there had to be a logical connection. Beautiful! This explains everything!
(Please don’t ask what;-)

Steve Goddard

http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/index.php?showtopic=227130&st=460

this is the snowiest decade since the 1940’s in NYC…It will beat out the 1960’s…February 2001-2010 has the highest average for any decade…The top three February snowstorms came during the decade…

Honest ABE

Sounds like typical proof of global warming to me.
We must save the polar bears!

Steve Goddard

Pascvaks,
The areas of record snow this winter also saw well below normal temperatures.

Zoltan Beldi

“Don’t believe white lies, says Al Gore, record-breaking snow is due to global warming”
he has even forgotten the modelling he espoused in “An Inconvenient Truth” where it indicated that the snows of winter would be a memory only.
Some memory !

What’s with 1981? I know the scale starts at 40 million so exagerates it, but it still stands out. Was there something unusual that year that reduced the snowfall?

Gary Hladik

Wait a sec: the “warmest decade on record” is also the snowiest? Has AGW raised the melting point of snow? Yikes, IWTWT!

Frank

From The Simpsons:
Homer: See, Lisa, looks like tomorrow I’ll be shoveling ten feet of global warming.
Lisa: Global warming can cause weather at both extremes, hot and cold.
Homer: I see, so you’re saying warming makes it colder. Well aren’t you the queen of crazy land. Everything’s the opposite of everything.

John Balttutis

Not bad for nine-year decade!

Stuart

But it’s “rotten” snow!

Chris D.

Chalk up another failed AR4 prediction.

PaulH

Yes, but it’s “rotten” snow, so it doesn’t count. ;->

Squidly

Judging by the graph, does this not disprove the AGW theory that, as we warm, we get more snow? It appears to me, judging by the graph, that the warmest decades had less snow than the cooler ones. For example, the 70’s decade has almost as much snow as this decade, whereas the 90’s (supposedly the most severe of warming) had the least snow. So, when Al Gore says that “more snow is consistent with Gorebull Warming”, he is lying out his posterior, is he not?

Steve:
If I’d known that it would be so important, I’d have kept better memories. Here in Southern New England I remember much colder, much snowier winters throught the 50’s and 60’s. Long Island Sound had a two or three mile fringe of ice in 1976. During the most recent warmest decade ever I have not been tempted to turn on the air-conditioning once. Everyone else has been hit with snow this winter, but here in West Haven I’ve had to shovel only once. I’m seriously starting to wonder if all our records are merely anecdotal. My experience doesn’t seem to match anyone else’s. Billions for modeling, but chicken-feed for well-sited, well-staffed, well-reported stations?
Maybe climate, like politics, really is local.

PJB

Okay, so now we have to buy sulfate/particulate credits to offset the snowmaking cold, right? Surely there is a climate model that can be co-opted to show the relationship of snowy doom, right? We will be able to legislate changes to industry to ensure that the snow goes down, right?
Charlie Brown, Lucy, football, repeat as often as you can get away with it.

latitude

“It appears that AGW claims of the demise of snowfall have been exaggerated. And so far things are not looking very good for the climate model predictions of declining snowfall in the 21st century.”
The 1967 – 1980 period was the prediction of the next ice age. Not because of snow, but because of temperature.
CO2 levels have increased since then.
People that say CO2 = warmer = more moisture = more snow.
Moisture without cold is called rain.
This was not the rainest decade on record!

LearDog

While all good sport I suppose – we all can giggle (two can play at that game!) – this kind of analysis makes me nuts.
1) Choose your metric (snowfall, rainfall, temperature, hurricane intensity, hurricane numbers, tornado numbers, etc.)
2) Choose your baseline (past month, past year, past decade,since 1973, whatever)
and
Invoke your correlation! Causation – inferred by reader or politician du jour.
This kind of analysis is what got us to this point. I gotta call it on BOTH sides of debate, sorry.

Willis Eschenbach

Well, there’s graphs, and there’s graphs. I always like to start out with a graph that shows the actual data, not some kind of reduced anomaly. That puts things in the proper perspective, and allows us to see how big the changes actually are. I used the same data used by Steve Goddard, starting in 1971 to avoid early gaps in the dataset.
Here’s that graph:

As you can see, all that this proves is that there is nothing unusual in the data. As I have argued before, there is nothing to be explained. There is nothing unusual about the temperature data. There is nothing unusual about the snowfall data. As far as I know, there is nothing in any climate data outside natural variations, nothing to require an explanation, whether it is CO2 or anything else.
In fact, the unchanging overall nature of the climate, with only minor up and down natural changes, strongly argues for my hypothesis that the earth has a thermostat.

It is clear from your graphs that the snow cover has been flat since the beginning of the data [1967] with no trend whatsoever.

old44

“Average winter snow extent during the past decade was greater than the 1960s by about 70,000 km2” which only goes to proove (switching to Alarmist mode) that it is getting warmer.

latitude

Willis, update your graph to include 2010, so you get that little up-tick on the end.
😉

DJ Meredith

Might be worth pointing out that cities with huge UHI receive less snow, simply because they’re warmer. Tokyo is an excellent example.
So if cities are recording record snowfall, the “recorded” temperatures vs. actual should be even more suspect.

David Segesta

Does anyone have the quotes from the IPCC or Al Gore saying there would be less snow in the future?

Tim F

There’s probably too much CO2 in the snow–deadly to the plant and animal life you know.

I agree with Dr Svalgaard. The record shows large annual variation but no long term trend, which suggests a stochastic process with low autocorrelation.

Robert Kral

You know, temperature observations can be mishandled, manipulated, misperceived, or whatever. It’s hard to sense the difference between 95 degrees and 96 degrees, or between 40 and 41. Snowfall, on the other hand, is bloody obvious. Anyone can tell the difference between snow that comes halfway up your shoes and snow that comes over your ankles. People remember that stuff. The bloody obvious test is my favorite statistical test.

Willis Eschenbach

latitude (17:52:59)

Willis, update your graph to include 2010, so you get that little up-tick on the end.
😉

It’s already there, the graph goes as far as the data goes, through February 2010.
w.

A decade long record across the entire Northern Hemisphere is not appropriately described as a “snowstorm.”
True! And Gore was not describing “a decade long record across the entire Northern Hemisphere,” so for once the two of you agree.

“Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm,” Gore wrote in a wonky Op-Ed for The New York Times.
The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth,” he acknowledged.

mkurbo

If global warming is causing snow storms and snow storms are causing unemployment, then is global warming cause unemployment ?
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6205EP20100301?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&rpc=23&sp=true
Or better, is being unemployed a green job ?

pat

Damn inconvenient to have the warmest decade in the existence of the world also the snowiest.

Dave F

I think that the data needs to be adjusted. We should add to the older data because of measurement efficiency increasing in the modern era, and subtract from the modern era because the modern snow cover is increasing, but the snow mass is lower…

Tim Channon

Figure out the significance from this.
Assuming this link works.
http://daedalearth.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/nh-snow-cover.png
Shows all months, no cherry picking.

Pascvaks

Ref – Steve Goddard (16:59:57) :
Pascvaks (16:57:20) :
“Warmest? and Snowiest? Somehow I just knew there had to be a logical connection. Beautiful! This explains everything!
“(Please don’t ask what;-)”
The areas of record snow this winter also saw well below normal temperatures.
________________________
Please don’t misunderstand. For some crazy reason it seems to make sense that global temperatures would be up/high in various places and heavy snows and below norm temps would also be occuring elsewhere. No one was around when the last glacial –or even the little ice age– started. We’re fumbling around in the dark doing the best we can. Why not have both?
PS: I have a strong feeling that nothing serious will happen unless/until the Global Conveyor starts to shrink or collapse:-)

latitude

Thanks Willis, that wasn’t clear to me.

ginckgo

And more snow is incompatible with Global Warming how?

pat

Warm = snowfall is a dolts attempt to explain a fallacy with something only Cooper or Couric could repeat with a straight face because they have never takes a physics class, much less 7th grade weather science.
It is sheer nonsense.

Ani

Just a quick question. I think we had a polar outbreak in 1978 kinda like we had this year. But it might have been 79. Also I would like to see if the solar cycle corresponds to years of more snowfall. Sorry I work off of a blackberry and can’t check it myself.

Richard Sharpe

I think Steve was having a little tongue-in-cheek fun with the breathless warmest-decade-in-a million-years or whatever comes out of the AGW crowd.

p.g.sharrow "PG"

This wide spread heavy snow is a cooling, little white lie.
So what is big Als’ giant whopper called?

N i c k B .

LearDog,
With no disrespect to Steve, I think Willis’ point – which is echoed by Dr. Svalgaard – that there is no real trend is the really important part here.
Chasing short/short-ish trends or spurious-seeming events to counterpoint the Al Gores and Joe Romms is good for advocacy or PR… but it’s Summer of the Sharks hand-waving.
Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to see their tricks used against them but the real storyline is much more subtle.

aMINO aCIDS iN mETEORITES

Increased snow and global warming predictions fit hand in glove—so global warming advocates like Al Gore would say—i.e., warmest decade on record has produced the greatest snowfall on record. But this theorized increase in snow from global warming is supposed to be in an ever smaller and smaller circle in the Northern Hemisphere with the circumference of that diminishing circle around the world approaching closer, year by year, to the North Pole.
But that isn’t happening. The area of snow cover is not retreating towards the north but it is covering a greater area heading south. The area of snow cover at wintertime around the world in the Northern Hemisphere is growing bigger not smaller.
This southward moving snowline at winter is impossible in global warming theory scenarios. So again, global warming predictions are not coming to pass.

N i c k B .

Willis/Anthony/Mods,
This is my work address – the offer stands, if you ever come through the drinks are on me!

Pascvaks

Ref – ginckgo (18:40:53) :
“And more snow is incompatible with Global Warming how?”
________________________
Nothing’s incompatable with Anthroprogenic Global Warming. Man Made Global Warming allows for and predicts all contingencies. Remember? It’s “man made”, some say mann made;-)

Roger Knights

John Balttutis (17:21:04) :
Not bad for nine-year decade!

Now that we have reached the end of the meteorological winter (December-February,) Rutgers University Global Snow Lab numbers (1967-2010) show that the just completed decade (2001-2010) had the snowiest Northern Hemisphere winters on record.”

Roger Knights

PS: 2001 through 2010 includes 10 years, just as there are ten numbers within the range of 1-10.

Pamela Gray

I would agree that no trend is the better hypothesis. We often trot out the increase in CO2 ppm graph as a function of the million parts of the atmosphere to show that in reality, the trend is rather…tiny.
This tiny tick up would, likewise, not show up on such a graph and is likely well within the error bars from year to year and decade to decade.

Jay

This looks like good work Steve.
I’m interested though. Comparing your new plots now that all the data is in for Feb 2010 to your previous plots where you used filler data for the last little bit in February shows quite a discrepancy. Indeed you predicted that 2010 was on track to be the snowiest winter by quite a significant margin. I wonder if you’ve learned any lessons about the use of filler data.
Also, can you tell me when the 21st century started and by how much you think ‘things’ aren’t looking very good for the models.
All the best.

Willis Eschenbach

Roger Knights (18:58:52)

John Balttutis (17:21:04) :

Not bad for nine-year decade!

“Now that we have reached the end of the meteorological winter (December-February,) Rutgers University Global Snow Lab numbers (1967-2010) show that the just completed decade (2001-2010) had the snowiest Northern Hemisphere winters on record.”

No, ten years. It runs from the winter ending Feb 2001 to the winter ending Feb 2010 inclusive, or ten years.

Roger Knights

OOps — I was interrupted by a phone call. Make that:
PS: 2001 through 2010 includes 10 years, just as there are ten numbers within the range of 1-10.