Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 659–682 | Cite as

Physics of seasonally ice-covered lakes: a review

  • Georgiy Kirillin
  • Matti Leppäranta
  • Arkady Terzhevik
  • Nikolai Granin
  • Juliane Bernhardt
  • Christof Engelhardt
  • Tatyana Efremova
  • Sergey Golosov
  • Nikolai Palshin
  • Pavel Sherstyankin
  • Galina Zdorovennova
  • Roman Zdorovennov
Overview Article


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.


Physical limnology Freezing lakes Ice physics Lake hydrodynamics Review 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgiy Kirillin
    • 1
  • Matti Leppäranta
    • 2
  • Arkady Terzhevik
    • 3
  • Nikolai Granin
    • 5
  • Juliane Bernhardt
    • 1
  • Christof Engelhardt
    • 1
  • Tatyana Efremova
    • 3
  • Sergey Golosov
    • 4
  • Nikolai Palshin
    • 3
  • Pavel Sherstyankin
    • 5
  • Galina Zdorovennova
    • 3
  • Roman Zdorovennov
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EcohydrologyLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Laboratory of HydrophysicsNorthern Water Problem Institute, Karelian Scientific Centre of Russian Academy of SciencesPetrozavodskRussia
  4. 4.Department of Hydrology, Institute of LimnologyRussian Academy of SciencesSaint PetersburgRussia
  5. 5.Department of Hydrology and Hydrophysics, Limnological InstituteSiberian Branch of Russian Academy of SciencesIrkutskRussia

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