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Changes in Regional Snowfall in Central North America (1961–2017): Mountain Versus Plains

Department of Earth System Science & Policy, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA
Division of Marine Science, School of Ocean Science and Engineering, The University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2020, 10(5), 157;
Received: 2 February 2020 / Revised: 22 April 2020 / Accepted: 23 April 2020 / Published: 28 April 2020
Long-term snowfall change offers insight for understanding climate change, managing water resources, and assessing climate model performance, especially at regional scales where topography plays an important role in shaping regional climate and water availability. In this study, we examined the changes of annual snowfall using observations from 1961 to 2017 in central North America, a region with high contrast in topographic complexities. There is a general, yet distinct difference in the snowfall trends demarcated approximately along the 105° W meridian. To its east, which is dominated by plains, snowfall had increased overall, except in a limited area south of 42° N, where snowfall decreased slightly. To the west of 105° W, which is dominated by the Rocky Mountains, there was a wide spread of decreasing trend, with only two pockets of area at an elevation of >2000 m exhibiting increasing snowfall trends. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that, in addition to the average annual snowfall, snowfall trends significantly correlated with elevation in the mountain region and with average snow season temperature in the plains region, suggesting different mechanisms potentially shaping snowfall trends in the two regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: snowfall trend; multiple linear regression; topographic complexity snowfall trend; multiple linear regression; topographic complexity
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Zhang, J.; Zheng, H.; Zhang, X.; VanLooy, J. Changes in Regional Snowfall in Central North America (1961–2017): Mountain Versus Plains. Geosciences 2020, 10, 157.

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