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TitleThe role of climate and lake size in regulating the ice phenology of boreal lakes
AuthorHiggins, S NORCID logo; Desjardins, C M; Drouin, HORCID logo; Hrenchuk, L EORCID logo; van der Sanden, J JORCID logo
SourceJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences vol. 126, issue 3, e2020JG005898, 2021 p. 1-11,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20210016
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd.
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
Lat/Long WENS -94.0833 -93.6167 49.8333 49.6167
SubjectsScience and Technology; Trends
Illustrationslocation maps; graphs; charts; cross-plots; diagrams
ProgramCanada Centre for Remote Sensing RADARSAT Constellation Mission: Data Utilization Application Plan (DUAP) - VAP
Released2021 02 14
AbstractWe quantified the relationships between seasonal air temperatures and ice phenology for a 0.54 km2 boreal lake in Northwestern Ontario, Canada using a 50-year time series (1970-2019). Significant temporal trends in the duration of ice cover (-4.0 days decade-1) occurred over the study period and both ice-on and ice-off dates were highly predictable from seasonal air temperatures. While temporal trends in ice-off dates were not significant, ice-on dates trended later by 2.2 days decade-1, and both ice-off dates and the duration of ice-cover became increasingly variable over the study period. For three consecutive winter seasons, we also evaluated regional variations of ice-phenology and snow and ice-thickness from 9 to 30 boreal lakes across a lake size gradient (0.02–26 km2) using ground based and satellite observations. Regional variation of ice-on dates (30-45 days), ice-off dates (10-21 days), and total duration of ice-cover (22-38 days) between lakes displayed significant nonlinear relationships to lake size across all years. Regional variation of ice-off dates was structured according to lake size, and appeared driven by relationships between lake size, snow thickness, and ice thickness. Multiple linear regression and generalized additive modeling approaches to predict ice-on and ice-off dates at the regional scale by integrating the effects of air temperature and lake size had similar performance, explaining >90% of the variance of observed.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
In this study, we used a continuous 50-year data set of air temperature and ice phenology for a single boreal lake, and a combination of ground-based and satellite observations to examine regional variation and drivers of ice phenology across 9-30 lakes near the IISD Experimental Lakes Area, Canada. Results indicated that ice-cover duration declined by approximately 4 days per decade, and ice-on and ice-off dates were highly predictable based on seasonal air temperatures. Our regional analysis indicated that the duration of ice-cover varied by approximately 1 month even for lakes in close proximity to one another and experienced similar weather conditions. This spatial variation of ice phenology was structured along a gradient of lake size. These results provide strong evidence of regional changes in climate since the 1970s and quantify the importance of air temperature and lake size in driving the duration of ice cover at a regional scale and can be incorporated with climate projections to estimate future ice-conditions across lakes of varying sizes.

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