Past and future changes in lake and river ice

Terry Prowse, Knut Alfredsen, Spyros Beltaos, Barrie Bonsal, Claude Duguay, Atte Korhola, Jim McNamara, Reinhard Pienitz, Warwick Vincent, Valery Vuglinsky, Gesa Weyhenmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Paleolimnological evidence from some Arctic
lakes suggests that longer ice-free seasons have been
experienced since the beginning of the nineteenth century.
It has been inferred from some additional records that
many Arctic lakes may have crossed an important ecological
threshold as a result of recent warming. In the
instrumental record, long-term trends exhibit increasingly
later freeze-ups and earlier break-ups, closely corresponding
to increasing air temperature trends, but with greater
sensitivity at the more temperate latitudes. Broad spatial
patterns in these trends are also related to major atmospheric
circulation patterns. Future projections of lake ice
indicate increasingly later freeze-ups and earlier break-ups,
decreasing ice thickness, and changes in cover composition,
particularly white-ice. For rivers, projected future
decreases in south to north air-temperature gradients suggest
that the severity of ice-jam flooding may be reduced
but this could be mitigated by changes in the magnitude of
spring snowmelt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences

Cite this

Prowse, T., Alfredsen, K., Beltaos, S., Bonsal, B., Duguay, C., Korhola, A., McNamara, J., Pienitz, R., Vincent, W., Vuglinsky, V., & Weyhenmeyer, G. (2011). Past and future changes in lake and river ice. Ambio, 40, 53-62.