Good Question: Does A Snowy Winter Mean Cold Summer?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In life, we like balance. When it’s cold, we figure it will warm up. When it’s hot, we expect we’re due for a cool-down. So, what happens when you have one of the snowiest winters on record? Does it lead to a warmer summer?

Pete Boulay, Minnesota’s assistant state climatologist, took a look at the top 10 snowiest winters.

“You’re probably not gonna like this. Seven times out of 10, it was a colder than normal summer,” said Boulay.

Typically, according to Boulay, there is not a link between one season’s weather and the next.

“I didn’t expect to see that, I was surprised to see there was some kind of match,” he noted.

He theorized there were two possible scientific reasons that a snowy winter would lead to a cooler summer.

First, the weather pattern that delivered all that snow lingers for a while, leading to cooler temperatures in the early part of the summer. That pushes the average summer temperature down.

Plus, when you have a top 10 snowfall, that snow slowly melts into the ground, leaving a very wet ground.

“A lot of the sun’s energy is going to evaporate soil moisture, instead of heating up the air,” said Boulay.

Of course, in 1984 when the Twin Cities had a record 98.6 inches of snow, the summer was slightly warmer than normal.

“The outlier,” said Boulay.

Although he also noted that while 7 out of 10 seems significant, “it could be a coincidence,” he said, as there’s not really enough data to prove any sort of causation.

“I’d say your chances of a top 10 warmest summer is slim,” said Boulay.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • John

    It means more people will be trying to LEAVE this state.

    • Bruce

      LEAVING the state? Oh, oh; that means fewer people to pay taxes = bigger revenue hole = no more money to fill the potholes = less driving = smaller carbon footprint = finding our green nirvana. Can life get any better? ;^)

    • JamieinMN

      I would HOPE so, but we give too many handouts for people to leave :-/

      • Rusty Shacklefort

        I hope everyone leaves so I may enjoy my self centered, pathetic existence.

        • JamieinMN

          I ain’t goin’ nowheres….

  • lol

    lol its funny how they are saying you can’t predict the next season’s weather but yet enviro wackos are telling us what the climate is going to be like 10 years from now?

    • LOL NOT

      You just proved you don’t understand climate change.

      • M B

        And PBS is no much worse than taking advice from rich business people who stand to lose big if environmental protections are strengthened? Yeah. I’ll stick with PBS, thank you. At least they can claim some impartiality.

        Nice try.

        Eighty-two percent of over 10,000 polled of the world’s climate scientists say that mankind is affecting global temperatures. These people have a lot more education in this field than you. Who am I going to believe? That’s right, not you.

  • lol

    o yes… I forgot.. climate is long term.. weather is short term!

    Its easier to predict things on the grander scale even though our data only goes back …

    The Irony…

    No clue as to predicting weather 2-3 days from now half the time…
    Clearly we are shooting for a 7/10 (no correlation proven) guess at the next season…

    but 5-10 years from now climate!? O yes! We are so positive that it will happen I want to use the government to extort everyone by means of tax and control! Even if it hurts us globally!

    lolololol… I just remember back in 90s when I was in middle school and they preached global warming and by 2010 we were supposed to be “s.o.l”..

    being post college now and having grown up and survived the liberal educational system indoctrination during the 2000’s .. I find this all quite amusing!

    what of the biggest shams of my generation! ! great site check it out peeps

    • lol

      few typos in the last few sentences on my post, its posted from a mobile phone! I say this only because liberals will use grammar feedback as a way to discredit other people when they can not debate with them.

      • Walker

        Definitive proof of global warming will come when it is too late. Through history that is quickly forgotten one can tell environmentally the consequences of actions. Since geology, meteorology, nor the climate was your area of study here you go

        It is also funny your post about liberals. The stuff posted here by Rusty Shackelford and yourself is the only posts that resort to name calling as a means to discredit people..

      • Phil Mcrackin

        Hey don’t you hate the grammar police? I can’t stand them either and I think you are right, its the libs. LOL

        • Amy

          That’s because the libs are way more intelligent than narrow-minded conservatives. It’s easy to poke fun at the dummies who don’t know the difference between their, they’re and there, or to and too….there are just TOO many TO mention!!

        • M B

          How can I take a person seriously in a conversation when that person can’t even communicate clearly?

          If you’re too lazy to learn your own language and grammar, why should I take any comments you make seriously? It helps me determine people who are serious about getting their point across or just ranting raving and flinging garbage.

      • Phil Mcrackin

        Proves my point, losers have no point so they whine about grammar. Yes people from Minnesota have some bad grammar like” I seen that” or “anyways”. But I think on a forum like this some use cell phones to post comments and it looks like they can’t spell worth a darn but it is not easy driving down easy street in your Beemer texting and all worked up at the same time. If I offend folks, great! I will live to offend again.

  • Erik

    I would agree that most of the comments here show zero understanding of climate or statistics. The measure here “7 of the snowiest 10 winters have cooler than average summers” is completely meaningless as a statistical analysis. It’s perfectly possible that if you looked at the 20 snowiest winters (in an area with over 150 years of recorded history, a pretty tiny sample…) and discovered that 12 of the 20 snowiest winters had _warmer_ than average summers. Then all the right-wing wackos would be crying about how biased the liberal meteorologists were. All this article represents is trivia to fill space in the paper — absolutely nothing that says anything meaningful about weather OR climate trends.

    • Phil Mcrackin

      Erick you are correct. you need at least 15 data points to get any measurable PPK
      Yes I did take a stats class.

      • K.

        Also, I would be interested to know what the “p” was in the statistical analysis so that we could really know if this was statistically significant or not. I happen to have a PhD; so, I also know something about statistics. The article ended by saying they needed more data in order to prove causation. You can never “prove” causation………….all you can ever do is find an association or correlation between variables. I hate it when people resort to bad science to try and make a point.

        • Phil Mcrackin

          You are no more a PHD than I am the Queen of England, gheesh.

          • K.

            Want to bet on that? I got it from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and I have the paperwork, dissertation, and degree to prove it. I have also been published. I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that, Phil Mcrackin!

  • Tell the truth Rusty,

    I did not know that there were massive mortality this winter from people not driving four wheel drives. It must have been buried by all of the media types so well that the car companies couldn’t even find out about it to feed the paranoia.. Rusty that was a mean spirited comment.

    • Rusty Shacklefort

      My mom always said, “you are so selfish that I may have my next child wit your brother”. I refuse to send her a mother’s day card any more.

  • Carlos

    Thank you for describing the Republican attitude towards climate.

  • Realist


  • klmk

    Can’t we ever leave politics on the side and realize climate change isn’t about that, it’s about the danger that it will inflict on everything living on this planet? Both parties are terrible! Maybe try thinking on your own for a change.

  • Just Saying...

    It’s not the planet you have to worry about. It has survived much worse than what us humans can throw at it. Problem is, we humans won’t be around to see it when it recovers.

  • MN Chat Thread.... - Page 445 - 8th Generation Honda Civic Forum

    […] Posted by '06Siguy awesome weather we have huh? Good Question: Does A Snowy Winter Mean ColdSummer? Good Question: Does A Snowy Winter Mean Cold Sum… i hate super cloudy days like today, makes my 20% tint look like limo tint […]

  • me

    our statistics class is looking at this possible correlation and will post results later

  • Fed up

    Why is it that everytime I read the comments following an article, no one is able to just leave their comment and have an opinion? It must be picked apart, debated and berated by every name caller, grammar checker and insecure John Doe in the twin cities. More than half of these posts weren’t even about the weather or climate changes! Can’t we all just get along?

  • Not Moving

    environmentalist are to blame for the weather. we’ll Im going to be proactive and do my part by leaving my cars, appliances, and lights running 24/7 to ensure we have a warmer summer.
    you’re welcome!

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