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Model simulation of the effects of climate variability and change on lake ice in central Alaska, USA

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The Canadian Lake Ice Model (CLIMo) is used to simulate the effects of climate variability and change on lake ice phenology (freeze-up (FU), break-up (BU), ice-cover duration) and total thickness and composition (snow ice, congelation ice) in central Alaska, USA. The model results suggest that, due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation shift that occurred in 1976, the ice-cover duration is shorter (4 days) due to earlier BU in spring, and thinner (0.05 m) due to a reduction in the formation of snow ice. Sensitivity tests indicate that air-temperature changes cause the duration change, and snow-depth changes cause the total ice-thickness and composition change. The role of annual and monthly air-temperature and snow-depth changes is examined further in a series of experiments designed to elucidate the possible effects of future climate change. Air temperature is varied in 1°C increments between −4 and +4°C, and snow depth is varied in 25% increments between −100% and +100% of the long-term averages for 1952–75 and 1977–2000. The FU and BU dates (ice duration) are most affected by annual air-temperature change. Total ice thickness and composition are most affected by annual and monthly snow-depth change. A key finding is that snow-depth increases cause total ice thickness to increase as a consequence of increased snow-ice formation on top of the ice cover at the expense of congelation-ice formation at the bottom of the ice cover.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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