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A century of high and low snowfall extremes in the United States

21 Jun 2023 | Science Notes

From the CO2Science Archive: Working with the dataset described in detail by Kunkel et al. (2009a), the authors employed “a set of 440 long-term snowfall records specifically identified as sufficiently homogeneous for trends analysis” in order to examine “temporal variability in the occurrence of the most extreme snowfall years, both those with abundant snowfall amounts and those lacking snowfall,” which years they defined, respectively, as those with the highest and lowest tenth percentile winter snow amounts. And this they did throughout the conterminous United States over the 107-year period stretching from 1900-01 to 2006-07.

Paper reviewed: Kunkel, K.E., Palecki, M.A., Ensor, L., Easterling, D., Hubbard, K.G., Robinson, D. and Redmond, K. 2009b. Trends in twentieth-century U.S. extreme snowfall seasons. Journal of Climate 22: 6204-6216.

What was learned
The seven scientists found there were “large decreases in the frequency of low-extreme snowfall years in the west north-central and east north-central United States,” but that they were “balanced by large increases in the frequency of low-extreme snowfall years in the Northeast, Southeast and Northwest.” All in all, therefore, they determined that “the area-weighted conterminous United States results do not show a statistically significant trend in the occurrence of either high or low snowfall years for the 107-year period.”

What it means
Although climate alarmists continue to claim that global warming leads to more extremes (highs and lows) of all types of weather-related phenomena (such as floods and droughts, for example), this study demonstrates that such has not been the case with respect to snowfall averaged over the entire United States throughout the period of time -- the latter 100-plus years -- when the world’s radical environmentalists contend that the earth warmed at a rate and to a level that was unprecedented over the past one to two millennia.

Kunkel, K.E., Palecki, M.A., Ensor, L., Hubbard, K.G., Robinson, D.A., Redmond, K.T. and Easterling, D.R. 2009a. Trends in twentieth-century U.S. snowfall using a quality-controlled dataset. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 26: 33-44.

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