Tsing-Chang (Mike) Chen, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University


Studies were done to further analyze the effects of urbanization, specifically the urban heat island (UHI), on winter snowfall in the Saint Louis Metropolitan area using station data from a climatologically significant year in Saint Louis snowfall. Two sets of data were collected and analyzed. Raw snowfall data over the course of 4 months in 2013 were gathered as well as isolated snowfall data from 4 significant events in 2013. Radar data was also collected and analyzed in order to create a model to use when collecting the raw snowfall data. Both station data and radar data were broken into a downwind and upwind sector and the information was processed to identify the effects of urbanization on systems bringing snowfall to the region. A series of averages and totals was analyzed to provide a better understanding of how the urban heat island affects the raw snowfall . Results show that while the downwind sector has increased precipitation overall in the monthly analysis, the 4 significant events (in which the most snowfall was experienced) favored higher snow amounts in the upwind sector. This shows that the effects of the urban heat island are minimal in cases of strong winter storms with the capability to precipitate up to eight inches of snow or more. However, it can also be inferred that for overall snowfall totals, the urban heat island effects do play a significant role and are responsible for an urban enhanced precipitation.

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Kyle Zenner


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