Analysis of Snow Climatology

The Problem

The topography, land-use characteristics and winter climate for much of Minnesota cause this area to be particularly vulnerable to blowing and drifting snow on roadways. The end result of the problem often includes a reduction in driver safety, degradation of road quality, and significant removal costs for drifted snow.

The Solution

Research has shown that snow fences act as windbreaks, causing blowing snow to deposit on the landscape such that it is stored over the winter season. When comparing the cost of snow removal with living snow fences, an average benefit/cost ratio of 17:1 exemplifies the efficiency of this method, validating use in Minnesota.

Climate Research

Before a blowing snow problem can be solved, several climatological factors in the area of interest must be investigated. For this study, snow and wind data were analyzed using a database with the most comprehensive temporal and spatial coverage available to date

Snow Fences at Work

Because snow fences are most often deployed on land used for crop production, agricultural implications represent a chief concern for local landowners. For the winter of 2000-01, three types of living snow fence designs in southern Minnesota were studied (strips of standing corn, twin-row honeysuckle, and single-row honeysuckle/red cedar). To see results from this study, please visit the Task 3 summary report and Case Study portion of this site.


The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), in cooperation with the University of Minnesota (UMN) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – State Climatology Office (SCO) provide these data, and the associated maps, tables, and analyses for informational purposes only.  As with most government services, these data exist in the public domain, but users are encouraged to pay special attention to the conditions and provisions under which the data were collected, as there were some variations in method of observation.  The user assumes the entire risk related to use of this database.  Data are provided on an "as is" basis and Mn/DOT, UMN, and the SCO disclaims any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  In no event will Mn/DOT, UMN, or the SCO be liable to users or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.

Contact Information

Center for Transportation Studies

200 Transportation & Safety Building, 511 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P:612-626-1077 | F:612-625-6381 | Location & Contact Information