Central Michigan University
Analysis of Lake Enhanced Diabatic Heating/Cooling on a Surface Low during a Midwest Snow Event: November 21st-22nd, 2015
On November 21st and 22nd, 2015, a wide-scale synoptic snow event brought heavy precipitation to the Midwest. During the period from 15:00 UTC on the 21st to 06:00 UTC on the 22nd, areas of Michigan started receiving snow at up to an inch an hour. Locations such as Howell, Michigan, received 16.8 inches of snow and the Detroit NWS office received 15.5 inches of snow. To evaluate this event, the Petterssen Development Equation will provide some insight into what caused this large-scale event. As the low progressed through Michigan, it slowed down once it became influenced by warmer than average Great Lake temperatures. Looking at the warm lake temperatures, there was evidence suggesting that the lakes provided lake enhancement to the low. To evaluate this, we will use the Laplacian of the average diabatic heating/cooling in the 1000-500 hPa layer found in the Petterssen Equation. This term is known to help aid cyclogenesis. Looking at this term, as well as the absolute vorticity advection at 500 hPa and the Laplacian of thermal advection in the 1000-500 hPa layer, we will determine whether lake enhancement played a role in cyclogenesis.