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Increase in North American Snow Cover
Reference
Brown, R.D. 2000. Northern hemisphere snow cover variability and change, 1915-97. Journal of Climate 13: 2339-2355.

What was done
Data from Canada, the United States, the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were used to reconstruct monthly snow cover extent over midlatitude (40-60N) regions of North America and Eurasia back to the early 1900s.

What was learned
In the words of the author, "the reconstruction provided evidence of a general twentieth century increase in North American snow cover extent, with significant increases in winter (December-February) snow water equivalent averaging 3.9% per decade." This result was noted to be consistent with "evidence of increasing twentieth-century snowfall over North America" and with "winter snow depth increases over Russia."

What it means
The documented increase in Northern Hemispheric midlatitude winter snow cover and water equivalent over the past century would logically translate into more snowmelt in the spring and greater replenishment of soil moisture reserves for the subsequent growth of agricultural crops and natural vegetation. Together with the increased plant prowess provided by the concomitant rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration experienced over this period, there is little wonder that this region experienced substantial increases in vegetative productivity throughout the entire twentieth century. That's right; neither nature nor agriculture has been going to hell in a handbasket due to any climatic perturbation, human-induced or otherwise. In fact, climatically and aerologically speaking, things have only gotten better.


Reviewed 30 August 2000