Snow has been melting almost twice as fast on land bordering the Arctic Ocean as ice has been melting in the ocean. Scientists think it may have contributed the prolonged US drought, but don't have enough data yet. If so, we're in for lots more drought.

The rate of loss of June snow cover extent since 1979 (-21.5% decade-1) is greater than the loss of September sea ice extent (-10.8% decade-1) over the same period.

Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceedi...
Variation from the post-1967 historical norm in June snow cover, June 2012. Dark orange corresponds to between 75 and 100 percent below average. Image: Rutgers University Climate Lab

In June, Arctic snow cover also reached historic minimums.

... scientists are just starting to understand the interactions between climate patterns in the Arctic and lower North America. “This is cutting-edge science,”...

"It’s another way to make the Arctic warm faster than the rest of the hemisphere.”

In another Geophysical Research Letters papernow in press, Francis and Overland describe how atmospheric pressure patterns generated by extreme spring snowmelts in the last several years seem to have channeled warm air across the central Arctic Ocean.

The winds accelerate the sea ice’s melt and push it into the Atlantic Ocean. They also seem to have hastened Greenland’s ice sheet melt, which reached unprecedented rates this July. “The winds used to be light,” said Overland. “Now we have more steady winds that blow from the Bering Strait across the north pole and out into Atlantic.”

Northern hemisphere snow coverage, in millions of square kilometers, as compared to the post-1967 average. Image: Rutgers University Climate Lab

Record Arctic Snow Loss May Be Prolonging North American Drought

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More depressing news - thanks for the updates and education you give us.


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