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Title: Cross-shelf thermal variability in southern Lake Michigan during the stratified periods: LAKE MICHIGAN THERMAL STRUCTURE
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Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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n/a to n/a
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. The Laurentian Great Lakes have substantial influences on regional climatology, particularly with impactful lake-effect snow events. This study examines the snowfall, cloud-inferred snow band morphology, and environment of lake-effect snow days along the southern shore of Lake Michigan for the 1997–2017 period. Suitable days for study were identified based on the presence of lake-effect clouds assessed in a previous study and extended through 2017, combined with an independent classification of likely lake-effect snow days based on independent snowfall data and weather map assessments. The primary goals are to identify lake-effect snow days and evaluate the snowfall distribution and modes of variability, the sensitivity to thermodynamic and flow characteristics within the upstream sounding at Green Bay, WI, and the influences of snowband morphology. Over 300 lake-effect days are identified during the study period, with peak mean snowfall within the lake belt extending from southwest Michigan to northern Indiana. Although multiple lake-effect morphological types are often observed on the same day, the most common snow band morphology is wind parallel bands. Relative to days with wind parallel bands, the shoreline band morphology is more common with a reduced lower-tropospheric zonal wind component within the upstream sounding at Green Bay, WI, as wellmore »as higher sea-level pressure and 500-hPa geopotential height anomalies to the north of the Great Lakes. Snowfall is sensitive to band morphology, with higher snowfall for shoreline band structures than for wind parallel bands, especially due south of Lake Michigan. Snowfall is also sensitive to thermodynamic and flow properties, with a greater sensitivity to temperature in southwest Michigan and to flow properties in northwest Indiana.« less
  2. Abstract

    Ground-based thermodynamic and kinematic profilers were placed adjacent to the western shore of Lake Michigan at two sites as part of the 2017 Lake Michigan Ozone Study. The southern site near Zion, Illinois, hosted a microwave radiometer (MWR) and a sodar wind profiler, while the northern site in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, featured an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), a Doppler lidar, and a High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL). Each site experienced several lake-breeze events during the experiment. Composite time series and time–height cross sections were constructed relative to the lake-breeze arrival time so that commonalities across events could be explored. The composited surface observations indicate that the wind direction of the lake breeze was consistently southeasterly at both sites regardless of its direction before the arrival of the lake-breeze front. Surface relative humidity increased with the arriving lake breeze, though this was due to cooler air temperatures as absolute moisture content stayed the same or decreased. The profiler observations show that the lake breeze penetrated deeper when the local environment was unstable and preexisting flow was weak. The cold air associated with the lake breeze remained confined to the lowest 200 m of the troposphere even if the wind shiftmore »was observed at higher altitudes. The evolution of the lake breeze corresponded well to observed changes in baroclinicity and calculated changes in circulation. Collocated observations of aerosols showed increases in number and mass concentrations after the passage of the lake-breeze front.

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