Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

A Climatology of Atmospheric Patterns Associated with Red River Valley Blizzards

Version 1 : Received: 12 March 2019 / Approved: 14 March 2019 / Online: 14 March 2019 (07:03:28 CET)

How to cite: Kennedy, A.; Trellinger, A.; Grafenauer, T.; Gust, G. A Climatology of Atmospheric Patterns Associated with Red River Valley Blizzards. Preprints 2019, 2019030148 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201903.0148.v1). Kennedy, A.; Trellinger, A.; Grafenauer, T.; Gust, G. A Climatology of Atmospheric Patterns Associated with Red River Valley Blizzards. Preprints 2019, 2019030148 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201903.0148.v1).

Abstract

Stretching along the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, The Red River Valley (RRV) of the North has the highest frequency of reported blizzards within the contiguous United States. Despite the numerous impacts these events have, few systematic studies exist discussing the meteorological properties of blizzards. As a result, forecasting these events and lesser blowing snow events is an ongoing forecast challenge. This study presents a climatology of atmospheric patterns associated with RRV blizzards for the winter seasons of 1979-1980 to 2017-2018. Patterns were identified using subjective and objective techniques using meteorological fields from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). The RRV experiences on average, 2.6 events per year. Blizzard frequency is bimodal with peaks occurring in December and March. The events can largely be typed into four meteorological categories dependent on the forcing that drives the blizzard: Alberta Clippers, Arctic Fronts, Colorado Lows, and Hybrids. Objective classification of these blizzards using a competitive neural network known as the Self-Organizing Map (SOM) demonstrates that gross segregation of the events can be achieved with a small (8-class) map. This implies that objective analysis techniques can be used to identify these events in weather and climate model output that may aid future forecasting and risk assessment projects.

Subject Areas

Blizzards; blowing snow; climatology; self-organizing maps; synoptic typing

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