Trends of U.S. snowfall and snow cover in a warming world, 1948-2008

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Thursday, 21 January 2010: 2:15 PM
B211 (GWCC)
Richard R. Heim Jr., NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC

Presentation PDF (2.9 MB)

Snow behavior will be significantly impacted as temperatures rise in a greenhouse-warmed world. Changes in the geographical pattern of snow cover and snowfall can be expected. In terms of amount and frequency, snowfall is expected to decrease in some areas and increase in other areas. Larger-scale snow cover is expected to decrease in frequency, amount, and spatial extent, and length of snow season will decrease. In situ observations of snowfall and snow depth extend back at least a century in the United States, and over much of the 20th century in other countries. At the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, snow climatologies for the Cooperative (COOP) Station Network have been computed and near-real time COOP data are used to monitor snow variability on an operational basis. This study utilizes the COOP snowfall and snow depth data base to examine the relationship between snowfall and temperature, and to assess the variability of snowfall in the U.S. over the last 100 years.