The Snows Of Greenland

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

By way of what in my life is a fairly common path, that of a series of misunderstandings and coincidences, I ended up on the web page of the Rutgers Snow Laboratory. Remember a while back when some typically alarmist climate scientist said our children wouldn’t know what snow is? Here’s the actual record of the Northern Hemisphere snow extent:

Figure 1. Northern Hemisphere snow extent, 1972 – April 2023. Graph from Climate4You.

But I digress. I started out to tell you about the curiosity I found at the Rutgers Snow Laboratory web page. Here’s the oddity I saw when I went there.

In that list of datasets, I saw an opportunity …

… dang, sez I, if I have snow extent data for North America both with and without Greenland, I can subtract one from the other to give me snow extent data just for Greenland.

And here is that result:

Figure 2. Monthly snow extent, Greenland. Flat areas at the time of the maximum extent show months when the entire island is snow-covered.

Hmmm … further discussion below. Next, here’s the average snow extent by month.

Figure 3. Greenland snow climatology, entire dataset. Note that the island is completely snow-covered for ~ six months out of the year.

Not a whole lot of summer in Greenland.

Finally, here’s a closer look at the changes in snow extent over time.

Figure 4. Expanded view, Greenland snow extent as in Fig. 2 above. Includes snow extent linear trend (yellow/black), snow extent CEEMD smooth (blue/black), and minimum extent (solid black w/circles).

Here we can see that since 1972, by all measures and despite the general slight post-1972 global warming, the snow extent in Greenland has been steadily increasing. Not decreasing. Increasing.

  • In recent years, there are more months when the island is totally snow-covered.
  • Unlike the ’70s, recently there are no years when the island never got totally snow-covered.
  • The trend and the smoothed values both show snow extent increasing, and
  • The size of the summer melt-back to the minimum extent has been getting smaller and smaller.

Please note that I’m not making any overarching claims about the meaning of this result. In particular, it says nothing about the state of the Greenland Ice Cap.

I’m simply pointing out that during a time when the earth has been slowly warming, Greenland is getting more snow.

Ah, the unbearable complexity of climate.

Anyhow, that’s where my monkey mind took me today … go figure …

Here on our northern California hillside, we’re about six miles (10 km) from the ocean. Our house is at the location shown by the red pin in the forest at the upper right. We can see a tiny bit of the ocean between the far hills.

When the sea fog rolls in, sometimes it traps and funnels the sounds of the coast this far inland. And on nights like tonight when that is happening, along with the boom of the far-distant surf I can hear the forlorn sound of the foghorn on the breakwater at the mouth of Bodega Bay, endlessly calling lost souls home to safe harbor …

My wish is for the very best of safe harbors for all of you,


As Always: When you comment, I ask that you quote the exact words you are discussing. This avoids many of the misunderstandings that plague the intarwebs.

via Watts Up With That?

May 20, 2023 at 12:14PM

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