October Through March Was the Snowiest On Record In The Northern Hemisphere

By Steve Goddard

Guardian Photo

The experts at East Anglia and CRU told us in 2000 that :

(March, 2000) According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.

The 255 experts at the AAAS denouncing “climate deniers” in an open letter described this past winter in these cleverly sarcastic terms :

The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.

I appreciate that government bureaucrats believe that there is no world outside Washington,  yet nature has given us the opportunity to grade both the predictive and observational skills of the experts. And it looks like they deserve a rather poor grade. According to data collected by Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, this past October through March period was the snowiest on record in the Northern Hemisphere – with an average monthly snow cover of 39,720,106 km2. Second place occurred in 1970 at 39,574,224 km2.

We also know that the past decade had the snowiest winters on record.

A month ago I discussed an AGW sacred cow – Glacier National Park. At that time, a WUWT reader (Craig Moore) expressed his concern about the lack of snowcover in Montana this year. The good news for Craig is that as of yesterday, snowpack in Montana is 98% of normal. California is 117% of normal. Arizona is 175% of normal. Wyoming is 101% of normal, etc.

Every good and conscientious citizen knows that snow cover is disappearing due to global warming. Google turns up over 100,000 hits on that topic. This is what the disappearing snowcover looked like in my neighborhood yesterday morning.

With lots more cold and snow on the way.



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Politicians and warmers keep saying it’s actually warmer. So has the German Weather Service. The public agrees – but with a wink of the eye. They haven’t forgotten the winter – the worst in 46 years.

CO2 has little or no effect on climate, but albedo does. Changes in albedo are what bring on Ice Age glaciations, and terminate them.
I am a CO2 skeptic but an albedo believer. Snow reflects light to a much greater degree than any other ground cover. Snow has a positive feedback effect on climate – more snow leads to more snow.


Steve, I think you need to apply for a research grant to determine if indeed this might have been the snowiest winter on record in the last 2,000 years.


In my opinion, changes in snowfall (even over times as long as a decade) don’t necessarily mean yes or no to AGW.
However, what it DOES do (and this is the same as any “weather”-based observation) is go to show how little the “climate experts” know/understand. When they make horribly wrong predictions, they need to be called out on it, and I think Mr. Goddard does an excellent job here in doing that.
While one snowy/cold winter certainly doesn’t disprove AGW, it DOES show that the CAGW folk were wrong in their predictions, which is very useful to do. And like Mr. Goddard, I keep pointing out the cold winter this year. I’ll stop doing so as soon as the CAGW crowd stops blaming Hurricane Katrina (and tons of other one-time events) on CAGW. It’s frustrating when a hot summer is because of CAGW but a frigid winter is just weather.
Now, looking at Steve’s picture, I’m trying to find out where he lives in Fort Collins. It looks like a curvy street, which is rare in FC…I’m guessing maybe the east side close to Lake Sherwood?
Thanks for the post Steve,

Gary Hladik

That’s OK, we’ll still have a “barbecue” summer. Heck, the warmmonger politicians are already feeling the heat!


Can someone help me out here?
This past winter has seen snow in north America, the uk, northern Europe and mother Russia YET it is still claimed that this winter was the warmest evah!!!
So, was it! Through my observations I noted that winter in the uk wax pretty bloody cold BUT according to the warmists it wasn’t cold at all?
Who do we trust? What was observed or what NASA et al measured?


Al bedwetters can be cured of their peeing by taking a bath in a frozen lake or river. By the same token they will be convinced that their beloved Gaia it is not warming up.

I live not far from a university. ;^)
I just got a new Peloton bike. My old cycle got run over by a car (with me on it) and I took the new one over the hogback to Bellevue on Sunday. It did great and will probably do Horsetooth Reservoir this weekend if the weather isn’t too awful.


The politicians have an excuse: they’re not scientists. But that excuse is wearing thin, they know it, and November approaches.
The Warmers, on the other hand, know it’s just a game to get rich, and are dragging thier heels.
Watch the hopscotch to the S. Hemisphere.
The public will remember the blown forecasts of the N. Hemisphere’s Winter, and it will be heavy on thier minds as the next one comes around in November…voting time.
What’s interesting to me is the fade-out of Solar Activity and the stuck weather pattern off the Pacific Northwest. A repeating pattern the last few years.
Which is more important: Why the pressure cells get stuck when the Sun goes quiet or the effects of the stuck pressure cells?

CRS, Dr.P.H.

As an avid ice fisherman, I conduct my own sampling surveys of climate….I don’t go out on ice less than 6″ thick, and don’t take chances.
This past season in Illinois was rather extraordinary, we had a solid freeze from about mid-December through mid-March. The ice melt in northern Illinois keeps coming later and later….They are probably still fishing on the ice up in Park Rapids, MN!
Works for me!


but but but
Everyone knows that warming puts more moisture in the air, which leads to more snow.
But, common sense tells you that it has to be cold to snow, and more snow makes it even colder………….
It’s a shame they can’t have their cake and eat it too. 😉

Jeff L

In examining your 1st graph, it looks like the general trend has been upwards for the last 20 years, yet the alarmists keep saying snow is a thing of the past – clearly they don’t look at the data, or maybe they don’t let data get in the way of trying to create some sort of alternate reality which fits their worldview.


geo says:
May 13, 2010 at 10:32 am
He can get a grant, as long as Steve promises to “discover” that the past 2000 years on average had much more snow than the present decades.

There is a natural oscillation in both winter and summer temperatures with a period of 50-60 year long. The CET summer trend turned down 5-8 years ago, while the winter trend is in the process of doing so.
The CET’s FFT power spectrum shows noticeable ~50 year dip.


There is nothing to believe. Just data to check… and a lot of mechanisms still to understand before comitting economical suicide.


While you were at the Rutgers site did you notice that the values for April were almost the lowest for the period (41/44)?
Northern Hemisphere
Month Rank Area Departure Mean
4-2010 41/44 28265 -2234 30500
3-2010 18/44 40621 290 40330

And for N America:
North America
Month Rank Area Departure Mean
4-2010 44/44 10996 -2185 13181
3-2010 37/44 14968 -718 15686

Overall their data shows earlier snowfall in the fall and earlier melt in the spring.

Frank K.

We had snow in Vermont and New Hampshire just a few weeks ago. Overall, though, it’s been a warmer Spring than last year.


Britich Columbia lower than normal snowpack, La Nino. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/rfc/bulletins/watersupply/

I used tree ring proxies until 1967, but then substituted in measured data in order to hide the decline. I call the technique MNT which stands for ” Manbearpig’s Nature Trick.” Tree rings stopped being reliable when Lyndon Johnson was elected to his second term, for reasons which have been well documented in peer reviewed literature.

R. Gates

I love it when you talk about snow cover and snow in general. We know that it takes energy to produce snowfall, and specifically it takes the energy of evaporation to get all that moisture into the atmosphere, hence, Denver Colorado, where I live has the warmer months of winter as the snowiest, i.e. March, November, and April in that order. So the fact that we’ve had a snowy season means that there is a lot of heat in the climate system to evaporate all that moisture to make that snow. The coldest place on earth (Antarctica) is not the snowiest, but in fact, one of the driest in terms of precipitation. Most of the snow that blows around down there is from the ground blizzards blowing it around.
Now if the winter had been Cold and Dry, then I might be thinking that AGW is showing signs of being wrong, but the fact that we’ve had so much snow, means we’ve got lots of heat in the system evaporating all that snow, and record snow would mean record heat (which is exactly what we’ve seen for the first few months of 2010).
Really, more important to the discussion is how much of the record snowfall is due to the now waning El Nino, how much is related to the extreme negative AO index, how much is related to the leftover effects of the long and deep solar minimum, and how much might indeed be related to the longer term AGW?
Bottom line: Big snowfalls in odd places, etc. do not in any way invalidate AGW theory, and could, depending on the other factors mentioned above, tend to validate it.


We had snow again yesterday in Casper, Wyoming. Not alot of AGW believers out here.

Henry chance

It’s May and there is still snowfall.
Climate Progress said hot dry and permanent droughts.
“From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.


Re: geo

Steve, I think you need to apply for a research grant to determine if indeed this might have been the snowiest winter on record in the last 2,000 years.

I’ll bet trees can act as snowmometers. More snow will result in more broken branches which will impact growth. I’m sure we could get a hockey stick graph out of the tree rings. We might have to carefully choose our calibration period and reject any trees that aren’t acting as snowmometers but thats an approved technique in climate science

Dave A

This site might benefit from having a widget to share articles to facebook, etc. I often link articles there and a quick link would increase readership. Keep up the great work!


I am still hoping somebody will/can (?) explain to me how a so called “greenhouse gas”
traps heat. Until I get that explanation I will remain a sceptic.
I do know some physics so don’t attempt any BS.


Scott says:
May 13, 2010 at 10:34 am
“In my opinion, changes in snowfall (even over times as long as a decade) don’t necessarily mean yes or no to AGW.”
You miss the point of the post, Scott, Mr. Goddard opened his item with a quote; which he then obliterated by showing how cold and snowy the recent (unfinished) winter in the Northern Hemisphere has been, we in Britain have had the coldest May night since 1967 in parts of Yorkshire.
The underlying meme of Mr. Goddards post is; the AGW crowd are always banging on about how ‘winters have disappeared’ and seasons are ‘warming’ , runaway global temps’ etc.
Blowing holes in their blustering pontifications is an ongoing process.
Regards, Athelstan.


Viner and Parker could take their offspring a few hundred miles north to Cairngorm, where the Scottish ski industry is enjoying one of its best seasons.
On that second video – I wonder what is the albedo effect of using explosives to prime avalanches at the tops of these mountains. Will we be hearing all about summit ice loss in July? Blamed on MMGW?


I’m sorry you are just not going to get a grant telling person there is nothing to worry about. If you must use facts re-phrase them along these lines: “Experts today insisted that due to unprecedented changes coming to your neighborhood really bad things will happen to you. According to Doctor C. Little of the Catastrophe Research Center and Tax Sink-Hole Institute (CRSTSI) there is exactly an 89.9571 percent chance that the sky will fall.

Henry chance

Accurate and truthfull forecasts from the warmists are a thing of the past.
“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”
It is bad day when you say something and the sceptics they despise point out the error.


Thanks Steve. And related to your referenced article from the Independent (Mr. Viner) we also had this story from the Independent dated September 2005:

“A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.
They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.
“We’ve exposed all this dark ocean to the sun’s heat so that the overall heat content increases,” he [Mark Serreze] explained.”

If Co2 caused all that mayhem then maybe co2 is causing all this current snow and ice mayhem!!!! :o)

And western Canada has seen the mildest winter on record. What does the snowiest record in the northern hemisphere mean for global temperatures and global raming/cooling? Nada! Because we are talking apple and oranges. Global Ts have shot up recently because of El Nino superimposed on the forced warming trend and we had the warmest January and March on record – global, not British…check Roy Spencer’s satellite data! And, doesn’t increased precipitation coincide with warming?
Cherry pickers and brainwashers at work on this site!
There was a talk at the GeoCanada 2010 according to which the atmosphere cannot melt the sea ice as 9/10 of it is underneath the water. Ouch.
The audio file of the talk is here:
I conclude: two half wits yield a dim wit!

The talk of warming tends to ignore how insignificant the temperature changes are in comparison to the range of temperature which is considered normal for any day of the year in any location. HADCET shows a 10/90% spread of maybe 10 degrees C. It’s going to take a significant amount of warming before the normal range is affected in a noticeable way.i

Scott’s point (above) is good and well made. This story isn’t much at all about distinguishing between weather and climate. It is much more poignant than that, in that it very clearly highlights the flaws in climatologists’ current understanding of the climate, and their gross misuse of short-term meteorological observations for the purpose of political grandstanding.
This article merely underlines the flaws in the science of climatologists both for their blatant AGW political advocacy and also their own abysmal lack of practical understanding of the thing itself.
“Snow a thing of the past.” Yeah! What’s up with THAT!?

R Shearer

Ah, the picture looks like Springtime in Colorado, I recognize the quivering aspen, evergreens and cottonwood trees.

Paul Benkovitz

Of course it depends on where you live. In New York State’s southern tier we had a mild winter with much less snow than normal. It rarely went below zero degrees Fahrenheit all winter.

Gary Pearse

I was in the field around Tonapah, Nevada last week to collect some samples from a lithium deposit. It was warm in Las Vegas when I arrived from Canada but when I got to Tonapah I had to borrow a parka to go into the field for the day (ice on horse troughs in the morning and a stiff breeze).

Peter Plail

I am still counting the cost of the coldest winter for many years in my garden, and feeling pleased that I didn’t follow the advice of the doom-mongers to convert to a Mediterranean style garden with heat loving, drought tolerant plants. And this is in the North West of England, which normally benefits somewhat from the gulf stream, so much so that we have only seen lasting snow on a few occasions in 25 years.
Among the saddest losses was my fig tree – planted against a south-facing wall over 20 years ago and now a 30ft wide collection of sticks. Everyone in the area has lost their bay trees, and it is only now, after a late spring, that the gaps in the shrub borders are manifesting themselves.
So from a purely subjective viewpoint the so-called experts got it wildly wrong.

Ulric Lyons

I made a pretty good forecast looking back 179yrs and 1 month.
112 Earth/Venus synodic periods.
I should have followed the look back more though, and I would have got early January better. Check against CET or other temeperature series.


Good stuff – it is hard to argue with facts.
….Except, as we all know, for the most sophisticated CAGW proponents who are able to move smoothly from warming, to more snow, to global cooling, all caused by anthropogenic CO2, without batting an eyelid or exciting even the slightest critical thought from their ever attentive eco-journalists and politicians.
To convince such people an instigator for a strong counter belief is required, something along the lines of a statue with a permanent icicle, a snow drift in a cave somewhere that refuses to melt, or a talking polar bear complaining about the excessive cold and ice.


Deep solar minimum continues.


Although anecdotes prove nothing, they are nevertheless useful in the aggregate. I live at 8,000 feet at the base of the Snowy Range in Wyoming. I have two ponds of about 5 acres total. When I moved here 16 years ago, the ice cover on the ponds was half gone on the 10th of March. This year, half the ice cover was gone on April 15th, more than a month later. Ice reflects a lot more solar radiation than water.

Jon P

But it is baby (single year) snow. Extent is not important it is volume that matters. It is weather wait till next year!
Very cool in San Diego so far this year but I am sure all the “offical” data has us warmer than usual. I would instantly raise the BS flag, this has been the coolest spring in San Diego in the 20 years I have lived here. No snow except in mountains though.

philip c

Perhaps this is why Canada is showing sense: http://www.thegwpf.org/international-news/947-g20-climate-change-no-longer-a-priority.html
Tried yet again to post on tips and notes but as usual for me it wont work!!
Must be a way in that I can’t see.
[Reply: Sometimes changing the screen size will bring the heading into view. On a Mac it’s ⌘ and a + to expand the screen; a – to make it smaller. Maybe someone can give the PC commands. ~dbs]

Dennis Wingo

Hey steve
Can you include a graph of northern hemisphere precipitation over the same period? The AGW proponent community’s newest line is that global warming will cause more precipitation events. A graph would be constructive to counter this argument.

It’s around five weeks until midsummer and the temperature here in Worcestershire, UK is having trouble making double digits. If it wasn’t for all those wise climatists telling me otherwise I would swear the world was getting colder. Still, they must know what they’re talking about, they use computers.


I live in a temperate part of Australia but have spent April/May in Europe/Canada/Alaska over years since the late 1970s. I don’t recall snow this late at lower latitudes until we were caught in a serious blizzard in Spain in April last year.
Here in Australia we had snow flurries 2 weeks ago coming across the Victorian high country, which was quite early for the onset of winter in Australia. All the trees had turned , as well, several weeks early according to our friends there. They say the leaves are turning at about the time they used to in the 1960s, and the colours are really bright as they remember from childhood.
This anecdotal stuff is never recorded by “climate scientists,” but they also never ask people who notice the movement of seasons.

Jay Curtis

…October through March period was the snowiest on record in the Northern Hemisphere – with an average monthly snow cover of 39,720,106 km2. Second place occurred in 1970 at 39,574,224 km2.
I remember the winter of 1970 very well. I was in basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, popularly known as “Little Korea” back then. The snow was a foot deep on the ground in January and February. We were out in it every day, marching in it, lying in it, camping outside in it, drilling, standing formation, etc. It seemed that I could never get warm, during those miserable 6 weeks. That summer, it snowed heavily on July 13th. at Ft. Carson, Colorado where I was stationed following Basic and AIT. The snow melted immediately as it hit the ground, but it snowed HARD for about half an hour. Being only 22 and coming from Kansas, I had never seen such a thing. The summer was very cool – with high temperatures rarely getting out of the mid ’80s in the Pikes Peak Region. At the end of that summer I became caught in a heavy blizzard in Pike Forest during a backpacking trip. The storm lasted for nearly 48 hours. If it hadn’t been for an abandoned cabin, I’d have been in serious trouble. That storm came right around the Autumnal equinox, and the same system killed a group of summer hikers up in the Cascades only a day before.
I’ve been following the postings here for some time, and it looks like similar conditions are developing. Today, May 13th., we’ve had light snow here in Colorado Springs. Anyone want to bet against a cool summer this year?


To Mailman,
The earth is a big place and you can have it both ways. The mid lattitudes got hammered this winter with cold and snow as this article points out but we were also in the midst of an El Nino in the tropics which is where most of the warmth was. The big difference was the artic oscillation which pushed more cold air from the poles to the mid-lattitudes where it met up with lots of warm moist air and got rung out as frozen precipitation. (I should know, I’m from Baltimore and we beat our old snow fall record by 50%.) The big question is what drove the artic oscillation this year to give us such a snowy year? Global circulation models certainly did not anticipate this.


@Mike D
‘CO2 has little or no effect on climate, but albedo does. Changes in albedo are what bring on Ice Age glaciations, and terminate them.’
So when everything was white, what then changed the “albedo” going from cold to warm, or vice versa. Because if everything comes down to albedo then it could have only been one albedo, the one that made everything too hot or too cold too boot. Imagine the snowball earth scenario, or the latest ice age, and if everything was up to albedo, how would it actually have become warmer?
If you believe it’s because of albedo, then which albedo effect?
And please try not to become a co2 believer. :p

Gary in Arkansas

As everyone in my small town can attest, I called the snowy winter long before it happened. I used the highest of scientific methods, too. Early last fall I slit open a few persimmon pits and saw that the seed was “spoon” shaped, thus I knew that we’d need the shovels come winter. Low and behold, I was right. It was so cold it chipped my concrete drive. It was so snowy I had to keep the Schipperke inside. Poor little bugger.
Of course watching the Sun in it’s doldrums for the previous few years helped with my forecast, but I kept that a secret. Folks round here think I’m a country genius; I see no need to baffle them with solar magnetism. Besides, persimmon pits often prove more reliable than the weatherman.
Y’all take care!