Regional Projections of Climate Change Effects on Ice Cover and Open-Water Duration for Ontario Lakes ccrr27

Summary

Algorithms for projecting ice break-up and freeze-up dates and ice thickness, developed using measurements from a series of Canadian lakes, were applied to project ice conditions across Ontarios inland fishery management zones for the remainder of this century. The duration of the open-water period was estimated as the days between freeze-up and break-up dates. Projections were based on simulations produced with four global climate models (GCMs) under two alternate greenhouse gas emission scenarios (A2 and B1) for three future time periods (2011-2040, 2041-2070, and 2071-2100). Results indicate the likely magnitude of changes in break-up and freeze-up dates and the duration of open water during the 21st century across Ontarios inland lakes. Projected changes in the timing of ice break-up are typically smaller than those projected for freeze-up. Break-up is mostly a function of lake area as the water is sealed from the atmosphere by a layer of ice. Once the air temperature (31-day running average) exceeds 0 C in the spring, warmer air temperatures will advance the break-up date, but this is offset by the lower solar elevation at that time in spring, which reduces the contribution of solar radiation to melting. In contrast, freeze-up is related to the volume of water in the lake and occurs as lower air temperatures draw the summers heat from the water.

Published Date: October 19, 2012
Publisher: Ontario Government, Ministry of Natural Resources
Author: Science and Information Resources Division

Details

Regional Projections of Climate Change Effects on Ice Cover and Open-Water Duration for Ontario Lakes ccrr27
ISBN: 978-1-4606-0189-1   (PDF) 4.9 MB