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Snowy Egret, Vol. 75, #1
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Lake Effect
“If there was a defining moment when snow emerged as anything more than an awkward form of liquid precipitation, it's more easily dated than explained. In 1814 army surgeons began counting snow days, and in 1870 Congress established the US Army Signal Service, within the War Department, to issue storm warnings based on thrrice-daily weather observations telegraphed to a central forecast office, in Washington. As part of their duties, observers noted the dates of the season's first and last snows."

If its not lake effect, its not real snow
If its not lake effect, its not real snow

“What makes lake-effect snow distinctive is not so much its depth as its frequency. Although the Great Lakes snowbelts occasionally receive a foot or more of snow in a single event, the most distinctive feature is a pattern of repeated snowfalls, often just one or two inches a day, but enought to require shoveling walkways and plowing streets and driveways."
Lake Effect
Tales of Large Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows
by Mark S. Monmonier
Syracuse University Press, 2012

This book offers an in-depth and personal look at a natural phenomenon shaped by geography and weather patterns and how it affects human history. A "lake-effect snow" occurs when narrow bands of clouds formed in cold, dry arctic air pass over a large, relatively warm inland lake, producing intense snowfalls
lasting from a couple of minutes to two days. Such snowfalls occur famously along the Great Lakes, the Great Salt Lake, and Hudson Bay; this narrative focuses on the Great Lakes and the Buffalo area east of Lake Erie in particular.

NASA satellite photo showing the Great Lakes lake effect.
NASA satellite photo showing the Great Lakes lake effect. 


Computer models of global climate change predict that increasingly warm winters will significantly stifle snowfall by the end of the century.

For the short run, though, global warming does not preclude sever winters like 1976-77, when repeated assaults of Acrtic air with a northwesterly flow brought record snow to areas downwind of the relatively warm Great Lakes.

Car Completely Buried in Heavy Snow after an Intense Snowstorm

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Air Apparent: How Meteorologists Learned to Map, Predict, and Dramatize Weather
Air Apparent

How Meteorologists Learned to Map, Predict, and Dramatize Weather