This just in from Science Daily thanks to the Finnish Meteorological Institute: Exceptionally large amount of winter snow in Northern Hemisphere this year March 14, 2018.
Excerpts below include both factual and speculative content (with my bolds.)
The new Arctic Now product shows with one picture the extent of the area in the Northern Hemisphere currently covered by ice and snow. This kind of information, which shows the accurate state of the Arctic, becomes increasingly important due to climate change.
In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum seasonal snow cover occurs in March. “This year has been a year with an exceptionally large amount of snow, when examining the entire Northern Hemisphere. The variation from one year to another has been somewhat great, and especially in the most recent years the differences between winters have been very great,” says Kari Luojus, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The information has been gleaned from the Arctic Now service of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, which is unique even on a global scale. The greatest difference compared with other comparable services is that traditionally they only tell about the extent of the ice or snow situation.
“Here at the Finnish Meteorological Institute we have managed to combine data to form a single image. In this way we can get a better situational picture of the cryosphere — that is, the cold areas of the Northern Hemisphere,” Research Professor Jouni Pulliainen observes. In addition to the coverage, the picture includes the water value of the snow, which determines the water contained in the snow. This is important information for drafting hydrological forecasts on the flood situation and in monitoring the state of climate and environment in general.
Information on the amount of snow is also sent to the Global Cryosphere Watch service of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMP) where the information is combined with trends and statistics of past years. Lengthy series of observation times show that the total amount of snow in the Northern Hemisphere has declined in the spring period and that the melting of the snow has started earlier in the same period. Examination over a longer period (1980-2017) shows that the total amount of snow in all winter periods has decreased on average.
Also, the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean has grown thinner and the amount and expanse of perennial ice has decreased. Before 2000 the smallest expanse of sea ice varied between 6.2 and 7.9 million square kilometres. In the past ten years the expanse of ice has varied from 5.4 to 3.6 million square kilometres. Extreme weather phenomena — winters in which snowfall is sometimes quite heavy, and others with little snow, will increase in the future. (Speculation for sure.)
Here is the MASIE chart from yesterday, confirming extensive snow this year: