Image : Old Farmer's Almanac
If the reindeer of northern Scandinavia or Siberia are up to their antlers in snow, it could mean a deeper freeze for North Americans in the subsequent winter season. Scientists from the University of Georgia report in the International Journal of Climatology on an analysis that suggests snowpack in Eurasia may have as much or more effect on the North American climate as the well-known El Niño/La Niña phenomenon.
The study, done by Thomas Mote and Emily Kutney, chased down facts to support a hypothesis postulated by other scientists. According to Thomas Mote: "To date, there had been no thorough examination of how snow cover from various regions of Eurasia influences North American winter temperatures. The goal of this research was to determine whether there is a significant relationship between autumn snow extent in specific regions of Eurasia and temperatures across North America during the subsequent winter."
According to Mote, high levels of snowpack in October and November over key areas of Eurasia are associated with temperature drops of up to seven degrees Farenheit on the North American continent. If snowpack is actually a driving factor, the study raises other interesting questions: Could the effect of climate change on Atlantic and Arctic ice change the snow-cover patterns in Eurasia, and thus affect North American winters?