Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Long Term Resource Monitoring



Integrating Perspectives to Understand Lake Ice Dynamics in a Changing World

Sharma, S., Meyer, M.F., Culpepper, J., Yang, X., Hampton, S., Berger, S.A., Brousil, M.R., Fradkin, S.C., Higgins, S.N., Jankowski, K.J., Kirillin, G., Smits, A.P., Whitaker, E.C., Yousef, F., Zhang, S. 2020. Integrating Perspectives to Understand Lake Ice Dynamics in a Changing World. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 125: e2020JG005799. DOI: 10.1029/2020JG005799.


Ice cover plays a critical role in physical, biogeochemical, and ecological processes in lakes. Despite its importance, winter limnology remains relatively understudied. Here, we provide a primer on the predominant drivers of freshwater lake ice cover and the current methodologies used to study lake ice, including in situ and remote sensing observations, physical based models, and experiments. We highlight opportunities for future research by integrating these four disciplines to address key knowledge gaps in our understanding of lake ice dynamics in changing winters. Advances in technology, data integration, and interdisciplinary collaboration will allow the field to move toward developing global forecasts of lake ice cover for small to large lakes across broad spatial and temporal scales, quantifying ice quality and ice thickness, moving from binary to continuous ice records, and determining how winter ice conditions and quality impact ecosystem processes in lakes over winter. Ultimately, integrating disciplines will improve our ability to understand the impacts of changing winters on lake ice.


lake ice, in situ measurements, remote sensing, mesocosm experiments, physical‐based models, data integration

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