The role minor and major snowfall events play in New Jersey snowfall over the past 126 years
(1) The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; Rockaway, New Jersey, (2) Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, (3) Morris Hills High School, Rockaway, New Jersey
Climate records indicate that there has been a trend of decreasing annual snowfall totals throughout the United States during the peak winter season. However, some states do not fit this trend. For example, New Jersey has seen a significant increase in snowfall over the past 126 years of recorded observations. This snowfall increase does not fit with the trend of increasing temperatures in New Jersey. One reason for this disconnect may be that annual snowfall may not tell the full story. We hypothesize that although annual snowfall has remained the same on average, the frequencies of major and minor snowfall events have noticeably increased. To examine this, we used the New Brunswick, NJ Cooperative Weather Station daily data, which consists of snowfall, precipitation, and temperature observations dating back to 1895. We utilized statistical tests to identify significant trends and predict future trends. In summary, we found that there was no significant evidence for an increase in the frequency of minor events (1.1-inch to 4.0-inch events), but there was evidence for an increase in the frequency of major events (4.1+ inch events). The results imply that a warming climate might be opening up opportunities for more snowfall.
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