Northern hemisphere snow cover.

© National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Northern hemisphere snow cover.

Snow cover is present from Minnesota all the way to Siberia.

The Northern Hemisphere is off to a good start for snow cover this season.

A check of Northern Hemisphere snow cover shows we’re at the second-highest snow cover level in the past 17 years, since 2005.

Northern Hemisphere snow cover seasonal data

© NOAA

Northern Hemisphere snow cover seasonal data

You can see on the map below how there’s snow cover from Minnesota, all the way north to the Arctic Circle across North America.

Snow cover across North America

© NOAA

Snow cover across North America

Extensive snow cover early in the cold season can be an indicator of more persistent cold as we head into winter. If snow cover is present to our northwest, inbound air masses can maintain or deepen their cold air properties because of the reflective nature of snow on the ground.

The effects of snow cover on temperature

© NOAA

The effects of snow cover on temperature

Temperatures can be at least 10 degrees colder in snow-covered areas vs. bare ground on sunny days thanks to the higher albedo (the energy reflected by a surface) and the reflectivity of the sun’s rays.

So keep an eye on snow cover as we head into the upcoming winter season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest winter temperatures outlook favors colder-than-average temperatures across the Upper Midwest.

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