Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Lei Meng

Second Advisor

Gregory Veeck, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Laiyin Zhu, Ph.D.


Snowfall, snowfall variation, El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Lower Peninsula Michigan, sea surface temperature

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Inter-annual variation of snowfall and its relation to climate indices will help clarify and improve the prediction of total snowfall in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (LPM). This study examines the trend and variability of annual snowfall (November- March) using 8 homogeneous weather stations in the LPM. The statistical relationship between snowfall and air temperature, Sea Surface Temperature (SST), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Maximum Ice Coverage(MIC) of Lake Michigan is calculated. The long-term trend in the snowfall data set from 1950 to 2015 is removed before any statistical correlation analysis is conducted. My analysis suggests that annual total snowfall has increased over the period from 1950 to 2015 in all 8 stations with significant trends at the 90 % confidence level except for the Kent City station. An inverse relationship between regional air temperature and snowfall, obtained through correlation analysis, suggests that snowfall increases with a drop-in air temperature and vice versa. Inter- annual snowfall across the study area exhibits large temporal variations and SST anomalies representing ENSO have significant impacts on average annual snowfall. The impacts of NAO and PDO do not have significant influences on the average annual snowfall within the LPM.