Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences


Lake‐effect snowstorms are primarily a mesoscale feature; however, major lakeeffect snowstorms are linked closely to their synoptic environment. Thus, a lakeeffect system which lasts for more than 24 h cannot only be explained by the boundary layer; it is also associated with the upper tropospheric flow. This research will address whether major lake‐effect snow events off of Lake Erie can also be associated with large‐scale planetary features several days prior to event onset. The goal is to aid in the forecast process by increasing the accuracy and leadtime of lake‐effect snow forecasts. This study includes 31 cases recorded from the National Weather Service at Buffalo’s lake effect database. These 31 cases were then stratified into categories depending on its: length, the time of year, and the type of event. This categorization allowed for comparison of the state of the atmosphere in the days prior to different types of events. In order to assess the large‐scale pattern, teleconnections were used as a proxy for the state of the atmosphere. For cases that lasted for greater than 42 hours, there was a correlation to the phase Madden Julian oscillation eight days prior to onset. The cases that occurred during the positive and negative states of the Arctic Oscillation had two different upper level trough patterns, the former originating in Southern Canada and the latter over the Southwestern United States.