Spatiotemporal snowfall trends in central New York

Justin J. Hartnett, Jennifer M. Collins, Martin A. Baxter, Don P. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Central New York State, located at the intersection of the northeastern United States and the Great Lakesbasin, is impacted by snowfall produced by lake-effect and non-lake-effect snowstorms. The purpose of this studyis to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of snowfall in central New York and their possible underlying causes.Ninety-three Cooperative Observer Program stations are used in this study. Spatiotemporal patterns are analyzedusing simple linear regressions, Pearson correlations, principal component analysis to identify regional clustering,and spatial snowfall distribution maps in the ArcGIS software. There are three key findings. First, when the longtermsnowfall trend (1931/32-2011/12) is divided into two halves, a strong increase is present during the first half(1931/32-1971/72), followed by a lesser decrease in the second half (1971/72-2011/12). This result suggests thatsnowfall trends behave nonlinearly over the period of record. Second, central New York spatial snowfall patternsare similar to those for thewholeGreatLakes basin. For example, for five distinct regions identified within centralNew York, regions closer to and leeward of Lake Ontario experience higher snowfall trends than regions fartheraway and not leeward of the lake. Third, as comparedwith precipitation totals (0.02), average air temperatures hadthe largest significant (ρ < 0.05) correlation (-0.56) with seasonal snowfall totals in central New York. Findingsfrom this study are valuable because they provide a basis for understanding snowfall patterns in a region that isaffected by both non-lake-effect and lake-effect snowstorms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2685-2697
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Annual variations
  • Climate variability
  • Snow
  • Snowfall
  • Trends


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