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Everyone wants to know what winter will be like due to how last summer and fall unfolded. But climate change has now caused a significant shift in the general trends. 

October 2021 was among the top ten warmest months going back to 1950, and winter could get some of that warmth. In the decades to come, the occurrence of this will increase, according to meteorologist and climate specialist Dr. Jeff Masters. 

Masters says that the amount of time that we will experience snow and freezing temperatures has decreased. “The frost-free period has gone up by over a week over the past 30 years,” he adds. Therefore the start of winter is pushed back as the climate warms, but when winter starts, Masters states that snowstorms could be more robust than what has emerged previously. 

When it does snow, you can receive heavier snows as the lakes now are not frozen as long, said Masters, explaining, “The lake-effect snows can kick in and give you more intense lake-effect snowstorms.”

For example, Rochester witnesses an average of 100 inches of snow, and this figure varies considerably with seasons receiving not more than 70” to seasons with more than 130”. Therefore,  the correlation between past temperature and precipitation with seasonal snowfall needs to be examined. 

The methodology to investigate this pattern was to factor in every seasonal snowfall since 1970 and plot it on the y-axis. The x-axis was then changed to a particular variable. The first variable was the temperature in October this year. The r-squared value was then calculated to see if any relationship existed. It varies according to a specific field, but an r-squared value typically above .75 would be regarded as a good correlation. 

When plotting October precipitation, no correlation was to be found. The same result was achieved when comparing summer temperatures and precipitation to seasonal snowfall, as well as while observing fall temperature and precipitation. 

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