Hans Moeller's blog

Exploring a Possible Relationship Between Snow Cover Duration and Air Temperature at the New Brunswick, NJ, Cooperative Weather Observing Station

August 15, 2015 - 10:58pm -- Hans Moeller

Figure 1

This past winter, snow covered the ground in northern and central New Jersey from the last week of January through mid-March. This long duration of snow cover was accompanied by colder-than-average conditions. This got me wondering whether there is a strong relationship between the two variables. We hypothesize that there is an inverse relationship between temperature and number of days of snow cover during New Jersey winters.

I chose to test this hypothesis using daily data from the National Weather Service Cooperative Weather Station in New Brunswick, NJ. Data were retrieved from the SC ACIS 2 website maintained at the Northeast Regional Climate Center and exported into an Excel file for analysis. From daily observations of maximum and minimum temperature, a seasonal mean temperature was computed for December through February each winter from 1914 – 2015. An early-morning observation of snow on the ground is made daily at the station. For this study, the number of days with the depth exceeding 1”, 2”, and 4” were computed for December – February. The number of days with snow above these different thresholds were plotted against temperature to facilitate analysis.

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