According to a just-released monthly analysis by researchers at Rutgers University, the remaining amount of snow cover in June was near record lows across the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, for most of us, a lack of snow in the summer is the norm, but in the Arctic, the snow level is an important factor in climate-related trends. Today, Washington Post explained why we should care about the snowpack way up north.
Curbed Ski has already reported on the extensive wildfires in British Columbia this week, and the results of June's snow cover readings are likely related. When snow melts off earlier in the year, forests are more susceptible to fire. They are dryer and experience more thunderstorms which bring lighting, the cause of many wildfires.
Other important facts from the article:
· The June 2015 snow cover in North America was the second lowest since 1967 when record-keeping began.
· This year, 4,080,000 square kilometers of the continent was covered in snow in June.
· The average snow cover for June is around 5,809,000 square kilometers.
But why do we care about snow in June? Because it's the end of the melt season. As the Washington Post explains, "For the most part, there's only snow left in high northern latitudes now, but how much of it there is has major climatic consequences – because less snow can mean more warming of northern latitudes."
The latest report seems to top off all the crazy weather we've seen this year: like the drought in California, epic dumps of snow in small Italian towns, and the wettest May on record. Someone cue the end of times soundtrack.
· Northern Hemisphere snow cover is near record lows [The Washington Post]
· Whistler Battles Smoke as Wildfires Rage in British Columbia [Curbed Ski]
· Colorado's Record-Breaking Tourism Industry, By the Numbers [Curbed Ski]
· Precipitation in May Set an All-Time U.S. Record [Curbed Ski]