Written by on December 9, 2022

A twitter post claiming that global snow cover has increased is false.

“Climate models from the 1970s have consistently predicted that CO2-induced global warming climate change should be causing a significant decline in total snow cover. However, global snow cover has actually increased since at least the start of the record,” states the claim.

Snow cover is simply the area of land covered by snow at any given time. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there was about 1,870 square miles per year decrease in the average portion of North America covered by snow between 1974 and 2020, as a result of weekly measurements taken all year through.

According to the journal Understanding Global Change, which is a project of the University Of California Museum Of Paleontology, latitude, altitude as well as seasons are responsible for the amount of snow and ice, covering earth’s land and ocean. The journal states that rising average temperatures as a result of heat trapping greenhouse gasses released from human activities has led to a decrease in snow and ice cover in many regions in the last century.

Skeptical Science states that there is a rapid decline in annual snow cover as well as the long term trend in spring and summer. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, spring snow cover decreased earlier this year 2022, compared to the past, according to records from the last five decades. In June, the ground covered by snow declined rapidly. This is historically a time when Siberia, Alaska and Northern Canada remained partially snow covered. In March and April, which is the end of the snow season for most of the mid-latitudes, the total area covered by snow across the Northern hemisphere also decreased over time.

Source: NOAA.

According to a study by Eurac Research which is a private research Center based in Bolzano-Italy, published on 12th August 2022, there has been a steady decline in the amount of global snow cover over the past four decades. The study states that snow remains on the ground 15 fewer days on average, with peaks of 20 to 30 fewer days in the Western provinces of Canada, whereas snow cover has reduced by a total of four percent.

The study was a follow up on their earlier publication made in the year 2020, which analyzed and established evidence that snowfall had declined in 78% of the mountain areas in the past two decades. Basing their argument on data collected from the year 1982, the researchers of this study indicate that with fewer exceptions, there is a clear decrease in the data on both extent and duration of snow cover.

We looked into this claim stating that snow cover has increased and found it to be false.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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