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Severe temperature fluctuations are a well-recognized potential impact of human-caused climate change.1,2 The warming climate exacerbates the volatility of weather leading to less stability in a season. Over the past few weeks, Maine saw a 41°F drop in temperature (54°F to 13°F) in just 24 hours then within one week it had climbed again to 50°F.3 These significant swings in temperature can prevent the formation of thick, stable lake ice. Lake ice can form during the colder periods, but may break up or remain only as a thin skim with patchy cover during the warmer periods. This is an important phenomena to track for the better understanding of climate change impacts and in this effort you can be valuable contributor. Using our new ice tracking form you are able to designate the state of the lake ice, rather it is: “Ice-in / Mostly ice covered”, “Partial ice cover”, or “Ice-out / Mostly open water”. The patchy or broken-up ice from recent warm temperatures and rain, can be recorded as “Partial ice cover” now. We absolutely need the first day that you can declare an “Ice-in / Mostly ice covered” condition for your lake and the day in the spring that you would consider the lakes to be “Ice-out / Mostly open water” (not likely to freeze over again for the year), however each change in state that is accounted for in our system provides us with insights. Any time that are in-between seasons the lake ice is shifting back and forth semi-regularly or even due to a major rainfall or windstorm would all fall within the “Partial ice cover” category.

Link to our ice tracking form.

Thank you for your help!

  1. Donadelli, M., M. Jüppner, A. Paradiso, and C. Schlag, 2019: Temperature Volatility Risk. SSRN 19 Electron. J., , doi:10.2139/ssrn.3333915
  2. IPCC, 2019: Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, E. Calvo Buendia, V. Masson-Delmotte, H.-O. Pörtner, D. C. Roberts, P. Zhai, R. Slade, S. Connors, R. van Diemen, M. Ferrat, E. Haughey, S. Luz, S. Neogi, M. Pathak, J. Petzold, J. Portugal Pereira, P. Vyas, E. Huntley, K. Kissick, M. Belkacemi, J. Malley, (eds.)]. In press.
  3. Maine December 2022 Weather Data. PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL JETPORT STATION, Weather Underground. https://www.wunderground.com/history/monthly/us/me/portland/KPWM/date/2022-12. 01/09/2023.
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