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Snowy Days on the Decline During Christmas Season

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    November 26, 2003 Snowy Days on the Decline During Christmas Season It’s looking and feeling a lot less like Christmas in many parts of the country as higher
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2003
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      November 26, 2003

      Snowy Days on the Decline During Christmas Season

      It�s looking and feeling a lot less like Christmas in many parts of the
      country as higher temperatures and fewer snowfalls are becoming the norm
      from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

      Looking at states that typically get snow, 197 of 260 weather stations
      have reported fewer days with snowfall since 1948, according to
      statistics provided by Dale Kaiser, a meteorologist in the Carbon Dioxide
      Information Analysis Center at the Department of Energy�s Oak Ridge
      National Laboratory. The survey looked at the 30-day period from Nov. 25
      to Dec. 24 from 1948 to 2001.

      The decrease in the number of snow days has been especially pronounced
      east of the Mississippi River, where 117 of 125 stations reported an
      average of five fewer days with snowfall.

      �Five fewer days of snowfall over a 30-day period may not seem all that
      significant until you consider that, in many regions, snow days occur
      relatively infrequently,� Kaiser said.

      One region that is more wintry between the holidays, however, extends
      from the Central Rocky Mountain states (Utah, Colorado and Wyoming)
      eastward into the Central Plains (mainly Nebraska), where the number of
      days with snow has increased significantly.

      �The area across the Central Rockies and Central Plains is the one part
      of the country that is bucking the trend, with a few stations in Utah and
      Colorado seeing nearly 10 more days with snowfall,� Kaiser said.

      Nationwide, taking into account only what scientists define as
      �statistically significant� data, 197 stations experienced declines in
      the number of days with snowfall while 63 stations had increasing trends.
      The statistically significant designation means there is a 95 percent
      probability that this trend did not occur by chance.

      In the East, leading the pack with a trend of nine-plus fewer days with
      snowfall were Batavia, N.Y., with 12.5, Medford, Wisc., with 11.7,
      Dansville, N.Y., with 10.6, Towanda, Pa., with 10.3 and Sault Ste. Marie,
      Mich., with 9.3. Skipping down the list, other cities experiencing fewer
      days with snowfall include:

      Columbus, Ohio � 7.8
      Indianapolis � 6.5
      Minneapolis � 6.0
      Philadelphia � 5.2
      Chicago � 4.8
      Washington, D.C. � 4.3
      Nashville � 4.1

      For many cities, the weather described by the data is actually what was
      recorded at nearby stations. For example, the weather for Sault Ste.
      Marie was recorded at Newberry while the weather for Washington, D.C.,
      was recorded at Glendale, Md.

      In the West, stations reporting trends of more snowfall days during the
      30-day period were led by Provo, Utah, with 9.8 more snow days during the
      30-day period, followed closely by Morgan, Utah, with 9.5 and, to skiers�
      delight, Dillon, Colo., with 8.3. Other cities experiencing more snow
      days include:

      Cle Elum, Wash. � 6.1
      Hastings, Neb. � 5.9
      Salt Lake City � 5.0
      Boulder, Colo. � 3.5

      Stations in the East that showed significant decreases in snow days had
      an overall warming trend of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

      �We examined trends in temperatures at 613 weather stations,� Kaiser
      said. �East of the Mississippi, many stations extending from Indiana to
      southern New England showed significant warming from 1948 to 2001.

      �This is consistent with fewer snowfall days over this region and may be
      at least part of the reason for fewer snowfall days. West of the
      Mississippi, only a few scattered stations showed significant warming;
      however, many stations over the central Rocky Mountain states have cooled
      significantly for this 30-day period.�

      Kaiser cautioned against reading too much into the survey, saying,
      �Although this work shows real changes over parts of the U.S. in snowfall
      days and temperature for this 30-day period, this cannot be used to draw
      conclusions about changes in weather over the entire winter, nor do these
      findings necessarily relate to the broader issue of global warming.�

      ###
      Contact:

      Ron Walli
      DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
      865-576-0226
      wallira@...

      This text derived from
      http://www.eurekalert.org/bysubject/atmospheric.php

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