Historic Variability of Lake Ice

Lake ice freeze-up and break-up data provide useful information on temperature changes. On average, ice freeze-up and break-up are observed to change ~1 day for a 0.2°C change in air temperature, thus lake ice information can provide a valuable proxy record of changing climate conditions, particularly in data sparse areas.

Below is a map showing freeze-up, break-up, ice thickness, and ice-on duration for a network of Canadian lake ice sites (red dots), 1822-1995. The data are based on research by Frédéric Lenormand from Centre d'études nordiques, Université Laval and can be accessed on the Polar Data Catalogue. Click on each lake on the map or in the list to view the variability of that lake's ice freeze-up, break-up, ice duration and ice thickness over the past century or more:

Graph Instructions: Mouse over to highlight individual values. Click and drag to zoom. Double-click to zoom out.

Lake Ice Links

This page was edited and updated by Laura Brown and Maren Pauly, both Department of Geography, University of Waterloo.