Publication Date January 11, 2017 | NOAA

The paradox of lake effect snow: global warming could bring the Great Lakes more of it, at least for a while

United States

The amount or severity of lake effect snow across the Great Lakes is tied to how ice-free and warm the lakes are as well as the difference in temperature between the lake and the air blowing over it. In a warming world, not only will lake temperatures increase, but the lakes will remain ice-free for longer periods of time. As long as there is enough cold air to blow over the lakes, it could mean an increase in lake effect snows even in a world where temperatures are increasing, as counter-intuitive as that may sound. Read on for a deeper explanation.