Development of a single site lake effect snow intensity index over the Tug Hill Plateau of New York State

Authors: Adam Burnett*, Colgate University, Arthur Samel, Bowling Green State University, Jason Stower, Bowling Green State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Cryosphere, Environmental Science
Keywords: Snow, Great Lakes, Climate
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Intense “lake effect” snowfall occurs downwind of the Great Lakes when cold air travels over the warmer lake waters. An initial case study was performed to identify the dynamic and thermodynamic factors that explain the occurrence of large lake effect snowfall events at a single location in the Tug Hill Plateau of New York State, which is located to the lee of Lake Ontario and receives heavy lake effect snowfall. Principal components analysis with a varimax rotation was used to determine the fields that are most associated with heavy snowfall and identify patterns that have the strongest lake effect signals and explain the greatest percentage of total variance. Composites of these atmospheric fields provide a set of cohesive atmospheric patterns that are associated with heavy lake effect snowfall at the study site. Ultimately, we seek to develop a snowfall intensity index for the study site using these patterns. Our approach is built on multiple techniques, including the identification of teleconnective centers within the various fields that can used to develop simple indices. These indices can be compared to snowfall using regression analysis to determine their predictive strength. We are also exploring combinations of predictive fields using cluster analysis and self-organizing maps. This study is currently being conceptualized, and the presentation will report the preliminary findings. It is hoped that, if a lake snow intensity index can be developed for the case study site, a future study will expand upon this work to develop a region-wide lake snow intensity index.

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