You may have noticed it’s been a hot summer so far. June temperatures were above average across the world, and both NASA and NOAA ranked the month among the top five warmest since record keeping began in the late 1800s.
Not surprisingly, snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere was at its third-lowest on record by June. But what makes the current paltry snow cover more significant is the fact that, just a few months ago, the Northern Hemisphere was unusually snowy -- April 2013 had the ninth-highest snow extent since 1967. A month later, half that snow had melted away. The Washington Post reports:
“This is likely one of the most rapid shifts in near opposite extremes on record, if not the largest from April to May,” said climatologist David Robinson, who runs Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.
The snow extent shrunk from 12.4 million square miles to 6.2 million square miles in a month’s time. By June, just 2.3 million square miles of snow remained in the Northern Hemisphere (a decline of 63 percent from May), third lowest on record.
“In recent years it hasn’t seemed that unusual to have average or even above average winter snow extent rapidly diminish to below average values come spring,” Robinson said.
It’s the same story for ice.