BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A new study aims to shed light on the weather phenomenon that's behind many of Buffalo's most epic snowfalls.

University at Buffalo researchers will focus on lake-effect snow from the past in hopes of better predicting it in the future as the Earth warms.

Lake-effect snow occurs when cold winds flow over warmer water — in this case, the Great Lakes — fueling intense bands of moisture that can quickly dump feet of snow on a single location.

UB researchers are developing tools to look at whether snowfall was heavier 10,000 years ago, when the Earth was warmer. They'll seek clues in hydrogen atoms found in the remains of ancient leaves buried at the bottom of ponds and lakes.

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