On the Relationship of Lake-Effect Snowfall and Climate Teleconnections in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, USA

Authors: Lei Meng*, Western Michigan University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Earth Science
Keywords: Lake Effect Snowfall, NAO, SST, sliding correlation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Buchanan, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

It is well known that lake-effect snowfall (LES) attributed to Lake Michigan has a significant impact on transportation on the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (LPM). Understanding the inter-annual variability and its contributing factors of lake-effect snowfall will provide sound basis for local community safety management and improve weather forecasting. This study attempts to understand the trend in lake-effect snowfall and its influencing factors in LPM using station snowfall measurements and statistical analysis. Lake-effect snowfall is calculated as the difference in mean snowfall between weather stations in and out of the lake-effect region which is defined based on Scott and Huff (1996). Our analysis focuses on peak-season (December to February) lake-effect snowfall. Peak-season LES accounts for 84% of total snowfall in LPM. Our study demonstrates that lake-effect snowfall has an increasing trend from 1930s to 1980s followed by a slightly decreasing trend. Our study also shows that LES has significant correlations with North Atlantic Oscillation, sea surface temperatures in Nino3.4 region, and surface temperatures in LPM. However, the correlations vary from time to time. Results on the impact of maximum ice cover in Lake Michigan on LES are also presented. This study provides insight on future snow related climate model improvement and weather forecasting.

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