The Grand Solar Minimum has already brought plenty of winter weather to parts of North America, pushing the continent to its largest snow cover extent for mid-October since NOAA records began — more than a decade ago.
The area covered by snow in North America, as of Sunday Oct 14, was 7.77 million square kilometers (3 million square miles), according to analysis by NOAA.
By mid-October no other year has had a snow cover extent that large in records dating back to 2005.
Note that last year (2017-2018) comes the closest.
The extensive snowpack in North America could induce early season cold in parts of the Lower 48.
Settled snow can help refrigerate cold Arctic air masses and prevent them from becoming milder as they advance southward.
“Where snow cover tends to advance most aggressively often is a precursor to where the cold air is eventually heading,” said Dr. Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER).
“Certainly, an early buildup of snow cover across Canada can support a pool of cold air that can, with the appropriate jet stream configuration, be discharged south into the United States.
“So I definitely believe that the rapid advance of snow cover across Canada the past month, if it continues, increases the risk of an early season cold air outbreak into the Lower 48.”
Parts of the central United States saw record-breaking cold and snow Sunday and Monday.
Temps were more than 20C below average for vast swaths, including Colorado, Kansas, Texas and New Mexico:
Research albedo effect, to boot.