Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Student David Wright publishes paper on the potential impacts of climate change on lake-effect snow

Posted: March 27, 2013

Graduate student David Wright along with co-authors Professors Allison Steiner and Derek Posselt has published a paper on the potential impacts of climate change on lake-effect snow.

The paper, “Sensitivity of Lake-effect Snowfall to Lake Ice Cover and Temperature in the Great Lakes Region” has been accepted for publication in the American Meteorological Society publication, “Monthly Weather Review.”

Wright used a high-resolution weather forecast model to answer the question: How would lake-effect snow be affected if there is a complete ice cover on the Great Lakes, no ice cover on the lakes, or warmer lake temperatures?

In a typical year, lake ice helps reduce or even eliminate lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes between mid-January and early February. Warmer temperatures can affect the amount of ice on the Great Lakes, and can affect when the ice forms.

The forecast model indicated that warmer temperatures could increase the intensity of the lake-effect snowfall, which can affect things like algal blooms and local government budgets for clearing and remove snow.

The paper provides an overview of each of the three climate scenarios analyzed through the model: complete ice cover, no ice cover and increased surface water temperatures.

To learn more, click here.

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