21st Conference on Climate Variability and Change


Changes in freezing rain patterns in the South Central United States

Timothy A. Bonin, National Weather Center Research Experience for Undergraduates, Valparaiso, IN; and D. S. Arndt

Daily surface climatological reports in conjunction with radiosonde data is analyzed from a period of 1950-2007 for five stations in the South Central United States. From this data, the annual number of possible snow, rain, and icy precipitation events is determined by analyzing characteristics of the troposphere for two mandatory radiosonde launches for each wintertime precipitation day. The number of “potentially significant freezing rain events” is also determined for each location. It is determined that there appears to be an “ice belt” in which icy precipitation, which includes sleet, graupel, and freezing rain, is more likely to fall. This ice belt appears to have moved northwest with time. The occurrence of potentially significant freezing rain events is not associated with this ice belt. Instead, the frequency of these events has its own trend and has been generally increasing, principally from the 1980s onward. However, there was a drastic decline in the number of these events in the early 2000s. This result is counterintuitive due to the fact that there have been several very damaging ice storms in the early and mid 2000s. The correlation between icy precipitation events/freezing rain and various teleconnections is also evaluated in this study.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (552K)

Poster Session 5, Climate trends and extremes
Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM, Hall 5

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