Lake Effect

Another local weather phenomenon is called the lake effect. Lake effect is an episode of heavy winter snowfall that can occur when a mass of cold Arctic air moves over a body of warmer water. This creates an unstable system. The storm pulls moisture from the body of water, which freezes

The windward side of a slope in an orographic wind flow pattern receives the greater share of the moisture from an air mass being pushed up and over a mountain barrier. Vegetation on this side is lusher. (Nature's Images)

and is deposited as snow on the lee side of the lake. In some cases, when the enriched air mass is pushed up a mountain after crossing a warm water body, the orographic effect can enhance the lake effect snowstorm. The orographic component is able to produce intense amounts of snowfall. If the temperature is not low enough to form snow, it will form heavy rainstorms. Lake effect snow is a weather phenomenon in southeast Canada, the northeast United States, and the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The amount of precipitation an area will get from lake effect snow is determined by several factors—the direction of the wind, its duration, and the magnitude of the temperature difference between the water and air. In fact, the lake effect of the Great Salt Lake in Utah is one of the factors that provides snow each winter to support recreational skiing. If global warming reduces snowfall amounts, severe economic effects will be felt over large regions in transportation, entertainment, recreation, lodging, food, and other industries.

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