A study on the increase of lake effect snowfall

For example, the range of variability across Lower Michigan in the 5-year snowstorm is greater than what is observed for the year snowstorm. Generally, the larger the fetch the more precipitation that will be produced. Once the lakes begin to freeze over and the moisture source is switched off, lake effect snow season comes to end.

Climate Change Leading to More Snow? Models that do not simulate the Great Lakes should be flagged for a high amount of uncertainty. Lake Erie produces a similar effect for a zone stretching from the eastern suburbs of Cleveland through Erie to Buffalo.

Hills and high lands on down-wind lake shores force air upward. There are several key elements that are required to form lake-effect precipitation and which determine its characteristics: Complete ice coverage results in major reductions of lake-effect snowfall along with colder temperatures and an overall more stable atmopshere over the lakes.

So, even though the GCM projections are not the most reliable source of information about snowfall in the Great Lakes region, their information about regional changes can be used to inform localized simulations.

Satellite image taken on February 14, of the highly ice-covered Great Lakes. This scenario was used to drive the high resolution weather forecasting model Wright et a. Snowfall regularly occurs in conjunction with a rising barometer.

The region most commonly affected spans from Port Stanley in the west, the Bruce Peninsula in the north, Niagara-on-the-Lake to the east, and Fort Erie to the south. Several inconsistencies and potential biases were found in the U.

Clouds can be seen streaming off of the Great Lakes with lake effect snow bands visible along the southern shore of Lake Erie and eastern end of Lake Ontario.

Snowfall observations are very important for describing how snowfall frequency and amounts are changing in the Great Lakes, but observations are not always reliable.

Global Warming Is Probably Boosting Lake-Effect Snows

During the Blizzard of '66, inches of snow were measured in Oswego in only 34 hours by legendary professor Bob Sykeswith wind gusts in excess of 60 mph.

A regional response to global warming? Similarly, lake temperatures are projected to increase further.

Snow in the Great Lakes: Past and Future

Industries like steel mills emit particles that act as ice-forming nuclei a particle which acts as the nucleus for the formation of an ice crystal into the atmosphere. The Midwest technical input report to the National Climate Assessment claims more precipitation can be expected during winter, but more rain and freezing-rain is likely instead of snow.

In contrast, if much of the melt is from glaciated or nearly glaciated areas, the melt continues through the warm season, with peak flows occurring in mid to late summer.

Information about average winter weather combined with snow density information is useful for describing when there is greatest potential for damaging conditions. Cold air that travels over water for a long enough distance will not only warm enough to begin to rise but also grab enough moisture from the lakes to begin to form clouds and eventually snow.

Snow in the southern Great Lakes region is typically heavier than in the north because colder temperatures in the north prevent the air from holding as much moisture, hence the snow is less dense.

There is little change in the spatial structure of snowstorms in the far north and eastern portions of the Great Lakes, and in general the year storms have about 5 to 10 cm more snowfall than the 5-year events at a given location.

Earlier this year, New York state updated its assessment of statewide climate change impacts, essentially giving a forecast of the future of lake-effect snowfall in the state: More frequently, the north side of a low-pressure system picks up more moisture over the lake as it travels west, creating a phenomenon called lake-enhanced precipitation.

Arctic air, brought down across the lakes by northerly winds can drive temperature differences as wide as 50 degrees F 10 degrees C in the north and 40 degrees F 4 degrees C in the south.

Snow in the Great Lakes: Past and Future

Avalanche A powder snow avalanche An avalanche also called a snowslide or snowslip is a rapid flow of snow down a sloping surface. Is climate change playing a role here? If the avalanche moves fast enough some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type of gravity current.

A brief period of lake-effect snow is also common near Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories during early winter usually early to mid October ; however the lake-effect season for both lakes is very short. There is one hiccup in the hypothesis of a warmer climate leading to increased lake-effect snow, said Di Liberto: Cooler, moist air may form clouds and cause precipitation.

The additional moisture from the lakes in the updraft enhances snow crystal formation leading to more dense snowfalls. Are the projections reliable? Satellite image taken on Feb.A recent study used a regional climate model to investigate these changes in lake effect snow if our current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continues.

By mid-century, the amount of seasonal lake. Lake-Effect Snowfall (formation) develops after extratropical cyclone (Alberta Clipper) passed over region and its cold front is well east of Great Lakes cold air.

This study examines records of snowfall from several lake-effect and non-lake-effect sites throughout most of the twentieth century in order to 1) determine whether differences in snowfall trends exist between these settings and 2) offer possible linkages between lake-effect snow trends and records of air temperature, water temperature, and ice.

Results reveal a statistically significant increasing trend in snowfall for the lake-effect sites, whereas no trend is observed in the non-lake-effect settings. The Finger Lake oxygen isotope record reflects this increase in lake-effect snow through a statistically significant trend toward lower δ 18 O values.

Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when a cold air mass moves across long expanses of warmer lake water, warming the lower layer of air which picks up water vapor from the lake, rises up through the colder air above, freezes and is deposited on the leeward (downwind) shores.

A study looking back to the s showed an increase in lake effect snow across the entire lake effect snow region. A study using slightly stricter quality controls found that areas downwind of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan have seen significant increases with slightly less significant increases near Lakes Ontario and Erie.

A study on the increase of lake effect snowfall
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