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The snows of yesteryear

05 Feb 2020 | Science Notes

Your memory is not playing tricks. Winters are not what they used to be. See, it now… snows more. At least in the northern hemisphere. Via No Tricks Zone we learn of the Rutgers University Climate Lab records of northern hemisphere snow extent from 1967 to the present. Before you look at the graphs, think back. Was it snowier in the good old days? Was there more of the fluffy stuff in the fall? Were winters nothing but blizzard upon blizzard and non-stop shovelling? Was playing in the yard more fun when you were a kid? Maybe the last. But otherwise guess again. Both fall and winter have been getting snowier for the past 40 years, while spring has been getting less snowy.

Climate is complicated, whereas memories of climate tend to be simplistic, and buried in a blizzard of alarmist propaganda. If you're constantly told it's the hottest year ever, you're naturally going to think there had to have been more snow in the good old days. So what do we make of the fact that it's snowier now than back then? (Or that periodically extreme cold does something like crack an LRT line in Edmonton, unlike the bucolic winters of our youth?) Maybe that climate is complicated and we always need to check the numbers before accepting alarmist claims at face value.

As an added bonus, the web page at No Tricks Zone provides updated Arctic sea ice volume records, which show that the summertime minimum hasn't declined this decade despite all the warnings about it being ice free by 2013, 2014, 2015 etc. (the deadline keeps moving). It's almost like Mother Nature collects the most extreme forecasts and then does the opposite, just for fun.

One comment on “The snows of yesteryear”

  1. So now my children do not have to believe my wife that winters were more severe in the past - a time when she had to climb through snow drifts to get to school. Come to think of it, what about the wooden slatted fences the highway crews installed in fields to reduce drifting of the snow. Or the occasional highways reduced to one lane for many days due to huge snow drifts. It was a different time when snow clearing was not as effective as today, but the snow left an impression with us.

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