Variability and Change in Midwest Winter Severity

Authors: Jefferson D Wright, Southern Illinois University, Trent Ford*, Southern Illinois University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: winter weather, Midwest, AWSSI
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The U.S. Midwest region is subject to both extreme and variable winter weather conditions, from large snowstorms to extended cold spells. The Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) was created to both quantify Midwest winter severity on a daily timescale, and characterize winter seasons in the context of the region's historical winter climatology. AWSSI is based on daily reports of snowfall, snow depth, and maximum and minimum temperature, and provides a daily record of winter severity "points" that accumulate over a winter season. This study describes the historical winter weather climatology of the Midwest region, including winter severity variability across multiple time scales, and long-term (i.e., multi-decadal) change in Midwest winter severity. We leverage the daily timescale of AWSSI to assess changes in daily winter weather and its contribution to a season's overall severity.

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