Last week, we saw a phenomenon known as lake effect rain showers streaming off of Lake Ontario under a southwest wind. Since the colder months and winter season are quickly approaching, let’s take a look at how lake effect snowfall is being impacted by ongoing climate change.
Lake effect snow forms when a colder airmass moves over warm water. This process creates clouds that can produce hefty bands of heavy snow. The wind direction dictates where those bands of snow move and who sees the highest totals.
The lake effect snow season lasts until the Great Lakes freeze over. However, a warming climate could not only delay the freezing of the lakes but it could also increase the amount of snow communities receive during any single lake effect event.
This research about climate change and lake effect snow were supported by scientists who found an increase in snow totals for the entire Great Lakes region from 1931 to 2001. On the other hand, climate change will aid in creating warmer air around the lakes which could lead to lesser amounts of lake effect snow. However, scientists say around Lake Superior, we could see increasing snow totals all the way through 2050! That’s because the area around Lake Superior is typically colder than the other lakes.
All in all, scientists agree that climate change will send our lake effect snow pattern into fits as each winter comes and goes. It’s important now more than ever to stay up to date on your daily forecasts as seasonal conditions change because of our warming world.