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lukemc

Are Snow Events Easier To Model In Continental Climates Than Ours?

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Hi,

I am just wondering if it is more easier to model or forecast significant snow events in a continental climate like that of the North Eastern USA than in our climate taking for example the Northeaster winter storm that gave New York and Washington a good dumping last week would it have been less marginal than our snow situations for example I noticed that surface temps during this event where not exactly that low for example about -2 or -1C in NYC but what would have dps and 850s been like? And was most of the snowfall in NYC, Washington etc. during this event frontal (rather than convective) in nature for example is it similar to our battleground situations between very cold and milder air that causes it.

Luke

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hi, from my experience in Austria, the national weather service over here ZAM are excellent at predicting snowfall with great accuracy with-in 3 days advance. They predict snow levels and amounts and distribution with-in the various states that sometimes beggers belief. Land locked continental climate must make forecasting a lot easier than the maritime influences of Britsh Isles.

C

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Agree totally with Carnithian above. Air mass modification by maritime influences in Austria is highliy unlikely compared to the UK. There is however mountain modification but this is more of and air and fluid physics change as opposed to temperature and moisture influences that maritime airmasses add to the spice.

It is interesting though that the US NE coast also seem to predict snow storms much better. My only guessing on this is there history. The US has a generally cold landmass and when the air meets off an atlantic low the results have been well documented and understood by forecasters over there. Also the air mass over the continent would be a uniform whereas for the UK we rarely have our own dedicated airmass and often the UK is subject to continuous battleground between airmasses. Add that to shortwave features and also the various sea temps around the UK it is little wonder it is so hard to predict..

So in long, yes i do think it is easier to predict continental snow events, purely because the physics and air mass environments are more easy to model and understand...there is less variation over space.

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It really comes down to data points. In continental climes, we have data for systems as they move across land...in our maritime climate, most systems move off of the sea/ocean where we only have ship reports. Less data == less accurate forecasts, so yes, technically it is more difficult.

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