About The Illinois State Water Survey

Mesoscale Meteorology

Climate change and lake-effect snows

With so much research being conducted on climate variability and change, it is natural to wonder how intense lake-effect snowstorms might be affected. In the literature, there are studies predicting increases and decreases in lake-effect snow in the 21st century (such as Kunkel, Westcott, and Kristovich 2002, Journal of Great Lakes Research). Recent observations reported in several studies have shown a general increasing trend during periods of the 20th century (Kristovich 2009, in Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest, S.C. Pryor, Editor, Indiana University Press).

Current research is focusing on understanding how the characteristics of lake-effect snow have varied during the last 100 years or so. Have lake-effect snow storms changed in intensity? In frequency? Both?

snowfall
Adapted from Kristovich 2009, in Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest, S.C. Pryor, Editor, Indiana University Press. Courtesy of Luke Bard.

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