Changes in precipitation patterns and seasonal average temperatures are altering Vermont’s normally snowy winter landscape. In addition to shorter lake ice over and rising minimum temperatures, the number of days each year with snow on the ground is also diminishing. Seven weather stations across Vermont consistently recorded days with at least one inch of snow cover since 1963. The data tells us that this average total is getting smaller.
The chart above illustrates the total days of snow cover of at least one inch during a "snow year", or November 1 of the previous year until April 30 of the listed year. The data is managed by the The National Centers for Environmental Information in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A reduction in seasonal snow cover results in a loss of natural insulation on the ground. This means that soils may reach colder temperatures while also undergoing more frequent freeze-thaw events. For Vermonters, that means multiple mud seasons instead of just one between winter and spring.
Reduction of snow cover days as winter transitions to spring is adversely affecting plant bud break, animal reproduction, regional temperatures and river flow patterns. Read more about early spring snow cover variation and its effect on winter tick reproduction and moose populations.
Search for more snow cover data by weather station to look for more trends. Zoom into your area of interest, then select "Monthly Summaries" and check the precipitation box. Click on a station near you to see its data.