Understanding the Reasons Behind Decreasing North American Snowfall Coverage (credit: Climate Central)
DISCUSSION: In light of an increasingly more tumultuous situation defined by gradually increasing global temperature trends, this also has had definite impacts on other factors as well. One such factor is the degree of coverage of North American snowfall which has varied somewhat over the course of the past 30 to 40 years. There is no question that North American snowfall coverage has experienced a definitive gradual decreasing trend over the past few decades. However, there is much more to this issue than "meets the eye."
In looking at recent historical North American snowfall coverage, a key component of this issue is the degree to which certain regions during the Fall to Winter transition period do or do not have snowfall cover by a given time. The reason for this issue is that by not having snowfall on the ground for a given first snowfall event, the ground is more susceptible to absorbing ultraviolet and infrared radiation from the Sun which will keep the upper-most layers of soil relatively warm. Thus, even when the first substantial snowfall event does occur in the given region of choice, a warmer upper-most layer of soil would inhibit a good portion of snowfall earlier on in the first major event from sticking which would limit net snowfall potential. Thus, anticipating longer-term snowfall trends is not as simple as one may think.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz