While I have been off there has been lots of news about snowy weather around the world. From snow in Australia during the summer to the major blizzards that have been hitting Europe and Eastern North America. This news is being used to support the newly christened “climate disruption” and also used by many to say what a fake global warming is. The interesting fact is that this winter is statistically speaking, very normal so far.
The amount of snow that has fallen in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) has not changed in the past 40 years. Since 1972 there are good records on how much of the land is covered by snow over the course of the year. There is no trend at all in the overall amount of land covered by snow.
The only difference is that this was the earliest that the snow coverage reached 44 million km2 this early since 1992. That value is almost always reached by week 51. So the snow was a couple of week earlier than normal, but that is weather. There is nothing abnormal about the snow being this early either.
The snow is higher than average, but only slightly higher than 1 standard deviation for the time of year. There is a lot of variation in the spring and fall for the total snow. For people that live in the NH that should be no surprise. Early snows happen and it never seems to happen at the same time of year. Heavy snow in October is not unusual in many places, even if it melts in November. That type of weather causes a higher variation in the snow coverage in the fall and spring.
What is most interesting is how very normal the snow coverage has been. From 2009-current the average snow coverage is normal. Perfectly and absolutely normal. Some weeks more, some weeks less. Here is what it looks like compared to the average.
When the snow hits suddenly and fast it causes many disruptions and isn’t fun for those that are traveling, but it also happens to be perfectly normal. Weather determines the exact location and the exact timing. The location and timing was bad for holiday travel, but other than that this winter is very much like all the winters in the past 40 years.