Study: Snow cover trends in Canada, 1972 to 2010

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During the last 39 years, the average annual area of snow cover in Canada has declined 5.1%. The lowest annual average occurred in 1998, followed closely by 2010.

The largest monthly decline in the extent of snow cover occurred in June. Snow cover decreased 34% in June over the study period from 1972 to 2010.

Average snow cover declined 13% in May and 7% in April.

For October and November, the months of onset and expansion of snow cover, results did not indicate statistically significant trends.

Note to readers

This article is the fifth in an ongoing series in EnviroStats showcasing data related to Canada's climate and the impacts of climate change.

This study examines the average area covered by snow (snow cover extent) nationally for the 39-year period from 1972 to 2010. Snow cover extent is examined annually and for the months of October and November, a period that marks the onset and expansion of snow cover for much of Canada, and April, May and June, the spring snow melt period.

The article "Snow cover trends in Canada" is now available in the spring 2012 issue of EnviroStats, Vol. 6, no. 1 (Catalogue number16-002-X, free), from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

The article "Environmentally friendly behaviours of Canadian households and the impact on residential energy consumption" is also available in this issue of EnviroStats.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the information officer (613-951-0297;, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.