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Is it Snowier than it Used to Be? The Answer Depends on When You Ask.

NOAA’s climate data, newly revamped in its presentation, is utterly fascinating to me. Today I’ve been looking at NOAA’s snow cover data, which is provided courtesy of Rutgers University’s Global Snow Laboratory. Do you remember how much it used to snow when you were a kid? Do you think it snows more or less these days? Now ask yourself if you only remember the snowiest times, or if maybe you’ve moved around to a different place, and you may find that you’re not so certain in your answer any more. But climate scientists have been collecting snow cover data for the Northern Hemisphere since 1967, and you can graph it all.

It turns out, interestingly enough, that in the early cold months of September-January, there’s actually a greater extent of snow coverage over the Northern Hemisphere nowadays than there used to be…

Snow Cover in Septembers, 1967-2015, Northern Hemisphere, NOAA Data

… while in the months of February-August, there is a stark downward trend over time in the extent of Northern Hemisphere snow…

Snow Cover Extent in March months from 1967 to 2015, NOAA data

The overall effect across all months from year is hard to see with all the yearly variation, but according to NOAA’s best-fit line, the trend heads down. As I said, this is fascinating stuff. Visit Rutgers’ website for snowcover data to get a bit closer to the source.

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