, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 659-682
Date: 13 Oct 2012

Physics of seasonally ice-covered lakes: a review

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Recently, the attention to the ice season in lakes has been growing remarkably amongst limnological communities, in particular, due to interest in the response of mid- and high-latitude lakes to global warming. We review the present advances in understanding the governing physical processes in seasonally ice-covered lakes. Emphasis is placed on the general description of the main physical mechanisms that distinguish the ice-covered season from open water conditions. Physical properties of both ice cover and ice-covered water column are considered. For the former, growth and decay of the seasonal ice, its structure, mechanical and optical properties are discussed. The latter subject deals with circulation and mixing under ice. The relative contribution of the two major circulation drivers, namely heat release from sediment and solar heating, is used for classifying the typical circulation and mixing patterns under ice. In order to provide a physical basis for lake ice phenology, the heat transfer processes related to formation and melting of the seasonal ice cover are discussed in a separate section. Since the ice-covered period in lakes remains poorly investigated to date, this review aims at elaborating an effective strategy for future research based on modern field and modeling methods.