Environment Canada researchers warn the trend, observed over the past four decades, could have long-lasting implications for wildlife and vegetation.
Coupled with the recent record melt of Arctic sea ice, the earlier melt of land-based snow could increase the “feedback” of global warming, causing it to accelerate even further.
“Not only does snow provide a pulse of fresh water when it melts, but it has a cooling effect that is felt throughout the Earth,” researcher Chris Derksen told reporters.
He points to the reflective quality of the snow that sends solar energy back into space.
Other studies have revealed that snow isn’t arriving any earlier in the fall, and that the past five Junes have produced the five lowest amounts of snow cover on record.
Photo: Vilja Selde - Flickr