Diurnal variations in lake-effect precipitation near the Western Great Lakes

David A.R. Kristovich, Michael L. Spinar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lake-effect snowstorms are important parts of the climate of the U.S. Upper Midwest, with significant economic and societal impacts on communities close to the Great Lakes. Some impacts, particularly those on air and ground transportation, depend critically on the time of day that lake-effect precipitation occurs. This study utilizes hourly precipitation data collected near Lakes Superior and Michigan to determine the diurnal behavior of lake-effect precipitation frequency. Precipitation data from approximately 200 lake-effect days during 1988-93, identified by a previous study based on visible satellite data, are examined. A distinct morning maximum and afternoon/evening minimum in lake-effect precipitation frequency was observed, with the largest variations at sites within the snowbelt regions. The relative importance of several factors known to influence lake-effect precipitation development was examined to gain insight into the physical mechanisms controlling the diurnal evolution of lake-effect precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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