Global Snow and Ice - April 2016


NH Snow Cover Extent

April 2016 Snow Cover Extent 1981-2010 Anomaly Trend
(per decade)
Rank
(out of 50 years)
Records
million km2 million mi2 million km2 million mi2 million km2 million mi2 Year(s) million km2 million mi2
Northern Hemisphere 27.91 10.78 -2.31 -0.89 -0.51 -0.20 Largest 50ᵗʰ 1979 34.61 13.36
Smallest 1ˢᵗ 2016 27.91 10.78
North America 12.43 4.80 -0.61 -0.23 -0.13 -0.05 Largest 40ᵗʰ 1975 15.08 5.82
Smallest 11ᵗʰ 2010 11.02 4.25
Eurasia 15.48 5.98 -1.69 -0.65 -0.38 -0.15 Largest 46ᵗʰ 1981 20.69 7.99
Smallest 5ᵗʰ 2014 14.77 5.70

Data Source: Global Snow Laboratory, Rutgers University. Period of record: 1967–2016 (50 years)

During April, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent (SCE) was 27.91 million square km (10.78 million square miles), 2.31 million square km (890,000 square miles) below the 1981-2010 average. This was the smallest April SCE for the Northern Hemisphere in the 50-year period of record and 90,000 square km (30,000 square miles) smaller than the previous record set in 1968. April Northern Hemisphere SCE is decreasing at an average rate of 1.7 percent per decade. During April both the North American and Eurasian SCE were below average.

The April North American SCE was 12.43 million square km (4.80 million square miles), 610,000 square km (230,000 square miles) below the 1981-2010 average, the 11th smallest on record. This was the smallest April SCE for North America since 2012. The April North American SCE is decreasing at an average rate of 1.0 percent per decade. During the month, above-average snow cover was observed for parts of the Great Lakes and the Central U.S. Rockies and Great Plains. Below-average snow cover was observed across much of Alaska, the U.S. Northwest, as well as the Canadian Rockies and Prairies. The contiguous U.S. April SCE was the 19th smallest on record, Canada the 13th smallest, and the Alaska April SCE was record small.

The Eurasian SCE during April was 15.48 million square km (5.98 million square miles), 1.69 million square km (650,000 square miles) below average, and ranked as the fifth smallest on record. The Eurasian SCE during April is decreasing at an average rate of 2.2 percent per decade. Above-average snow cover was observed across parts of the Tibetan Plateau, southeastern Russia, Mongolia, and parts of the European Alps. Below-average snow cover was observed for much of Eastern Europe, including all of western Russia, northern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and most of Japan.

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Sea Ice Extent

The Northern and Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent product has been suspended due to a satellite sensor failure. More information is available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Snow and Ice for April 2016, published online May 2016, retrieved on August 30, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global-snow/201604.