Daryn Hardwick* - University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Many Upper Midwestern states have experienced increased drought conditions over the last decade. Past research has shown that decreases in snow cover have a detrimental effect on summer precipitation, groundwater levels, and adequate soil moisture content. This study examined if snowfall totals and singular snow events decreased over the last thirty-five years in the state of Wisconsin. The geographic variability of snowfall in Wisconsin was also investigated to ascertain the spatial shifts in snowfall totals and snow storm frequency. Data collection and subsequent analysis was based on the National Climatic Data Center's Online Climate Data Directory for examination of the variation of frequency and spatial intensity of Wisconsin winter snowfall. Daily meteorological observations, instead of monthly data, were used from one hundred and seventeen weather stations from 1974 to 2010 in order to determine the frequency of snowstorm events. It was hypothesized that significant spatial variation in both the temporal and spatial variation of both snowfall totals and events occurred over the study's time period extend. Yearly Wisconsin drought conditions statistics were also correlated to the results of snowfall variation. Further evaluation and correlation of snowfall totals and drought conditions to the influence of El Nino and La Nina is recommended in future studies.