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Study Shows Less Snow For Northeast

Discussion in 'Weather' started by Charles, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 275

    Study shows winter warming up for some
    In the Northeast, there is less snow, higher temperatures


    ALBANY, N.Y.

    Earlier blooms. Less snow to shovel. Unseasonable warm spells.

    Signs that winters in the Northeast are losing their bite have been abundant in recent years, and now researchers have nailed down numbers to show just how big the changes have been.

    A study of weather-station data from across the Northeast from 1965 through 2005 found that December-to-March temperatures increased by 2.5 degrees. Snowfall totals dropped by an average of 8.8 inches across the region over the same period, and the number of days with at least 1 inch of snow on the ground decreased by nine days on average.

    “Winter is warming greater than any other season,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, who analyzed data from numerous stations for her master’s thesis in collaboration with Cameron Wake, a professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space.

    Burakowski, who graduated from UNH in December, found that the biggest snowfall decreases were in December and February. Stations in New England showed the strongest decreases in winter snowfall, about 3 inches every 10 years.

    There were wide disparities in snowfall over the eight-state region, with average totals ranging from 13.5 inches at Cape May, N.J., to 137.6 inches at Oswego, N.Y. Some stations on the Great Lakes, where lake-effect storms are common, showed an increase.

    The reduction in days with at least an inch of snow on the ground was the most pronounced at stations between 42 and 44 degrees latitude - a band that includes most of Massachusetts, a thick slice of upstate New York and southern sections of Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Burakowski mentions two likely causes for the reduction in so-called snow-covered days: higher maximum temperatures and “snow-albedo feedback,” in which less snow cover to begin with allows more sunshine warmth to be absorbed by the darker ground, making it less conducive to snow cover.

    The research has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal, though meteorologists who have studied long-term climate trends said that the observations appear to be in line with other research.

    Richard Heim of the National Climatic Data Center looked at trends in snowfall totals nationwide from 1948 to 2006 and found that patterns varied regionally and seasonally. For the Northeast in winter, he found totals mostly decreasing along coastal areas, with an increasing trend along the Great Lakes.

    Art DeGaetano of the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University said that regions around New York state have recorded negative trends in snowfall since 1970.

    DeGaetano cautioned that snowfall totals can vary a lot from year to year. Last month, for example, snow totals were well above average for December across much of the Northeast.

    Ski-center operators have also noticed an incremental increase in temperatures over the years, said Parker Riehle, the president of the trade association Ski Vermont, but he echoed DeGaetano’s point that snow totals have fluctuated.

    “We’ve seen some erratic winters in recent years,” Riehle said. “The mood swings of Mother Nature, perhaps, are deeper than they used to be.”
  2. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

  3. blk90s13

    blk90s13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,157

    They dont have a study about where there is more snow ? I am ready to move out of here :gunsfiring::realmad:
  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 275

    What are you shooting at?:confused: I have noticed a warmer winters on average in the Southeast too over the past 25 years. From 1960 to 1985, we would get one or 2 decent plowable snow events a year and long frigid cold spells. Now we get short cold spells and maybe one slush event per year along with freezing rain. Could be the Pacific ocillator that is causing it. The long term underlining La Nina effect out there that is causing the Jet Stream to stay farther North. That can last 20 to 30 years. I hope that is the main reason
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 275

    Me too and its getting very rare around here. I like it when the roads freeze over and snow sticks to that.
    I think many of the older(40+) guys on here will remember when winters(on average) were more severe. Not every part of the country has been affected though
  6. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    The earth travels on an elliptical cycle in it's relationship around the sun. Not the 23:5?? min. cycle we call a day but a pattern that covers 1K years. We are at the closest point of the cycle at this time. As the earth falls away to it's most distant pattern the possibility of much colder harsher winters is a very real possibility. the destruction of the ozone levels also allow the earth to release heat easier. "Global Warming" could well be the beginning of a new Ice age. We are not going to benefit though, it will take 5C years to reach the "coldest" part of the cycle, I'd like to think I would have retired by then:D

    This according to a friend on mine, active as a member of the BOD of the local observatory for 20 years, as well as to many other credentials to bore you with. One of the smartest people I ever i've ever met.
  7. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 275

    I have read that somewhere and its even more depressing. The La Nina long term event is happening too(NOAA website). Could be a combination of events. According to the Army Corp of Engineers records, we have had less and less rainfall average since 1998 too to go along with that warming. A very long term drought