The Associated Press
updated 11/5/2003 4:10:25 AM ET 2003-11-05T09:10:25

In theory, global warming should be a good thing for the Great Lakes, right? Wrong. Global warming means more snow, not less, for the snowbound region along the eastern border between Canada and the United States, researchers said on Tuesday.

THEIR STUDY of snowfall records in the Great Lakes region and elsewhere suggests there has been a significant increase in snowfall in the Great Lakes region since the 1930s but not anywhere else.

The team, at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, said that global warming does not mean sunnier weather everywhere. Other researchers have predicted that, as the climate gets warmer overall, it could mean colder temperatures in some parts of the world and more severe weather in general as weather patterns change.

For instance, warmer surface sea temperatures could fuel more violent hurricanes and typhoons.

In the Great Lakes region, warmer temperatures mean more snow, Adam Burnett, an associate professor of geography, writes in the November issue of the Journal of Climate.

“Recent increases in the water temperature of the Great Lakes are consistent with global warming,” Burnett said in a statement. “This widens the gap between water temperature and air temperature — the ideal condition for snowfall.”

Burnett and colleagues compared snowfall records from 15 weather stations within the Great Lakes region with 10 stations at sites outside of the region and checked weather records dating as far back as 1931.

“We found a statistically significant increase in snowfall in the lake-effect region since 1931, but no such increase in the non-lake-effect area during the same period,” Burnett said.

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