Climatic Change

, Volume 112, Issue 3–4, pp 791–817 | Cite as

Lake ice phenology in Berlin-Brandenburg from 1947–2007: observations and model hindcasts

  • Juliane BernhardtEmail author
  • Christof Engelhardt
  • Georgiy Kirillin
  • Jörg Matschullat


Rising northern hemispheric mean air temperatures reduce the amount of winter lake ice. These changes in lake ice cover must be understood in terms of resulting effects on lake ecosystems. Accurate predictions of lake ice phenology are essential to assess resulting impact. We applied the one-dimensional physical lake model FLake to analyse past variability in ice cover timing, intensity and duration of Berlin-Brandenburg lakes. The observed ice phenology in two lakes in the period 1961–2007 was reconstructed by FLake reasonably well and with higher accuracy than by state-of-the-art linear regression models. Additional modelling results of FLake for 38 Berlin-Brandenburg lakes, observed in the winter of 2008/09, were quite satisfactory and adequately reproduced the effects of varying lake morphology and trophic state. Observations and model results showed that deeper and clearer lakes had more ice-free winters, later ice cover freezing and earlier ice cover thawing dates, resulting in shorter ice-covered periods and fewer ice-covered days than shallow and less clear lakes. The 1947–2007 model hindcasts were implemented using FLake for eight Berlin-Brandenburg lakes without ice phenology observations. Results demonstrated past trends of later ice start and earlier ice end, shorter ice cover duration and an increase in ice-free winters.


Shallow Lake Deep Lake Lake Depth Clear Lake Lake Model FLake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



ice start date


ice end date


number of ice days per winter


ice duration


ice-free winters


air temperature


North Atlantic Oscillation-Index




Pearson’s correlation coefficient


p-value for correlation


mean absolute error



reg. mod.

regression model


P-value for trends


significance level for trends


test value


standard error



Lake ice phenology data for Müggelsee and Lake Stechlin were supplied by T. Hintze, R. Adrian and G. Mohr (IGB). Potsdam station meteorological data were provided by the German Weather service (DWD). The lake-specific parameters of many Berlin and Brandenburg lakes were given by the Institute for Applied Freshwater Ecology GmbH (IaG GmbH). We are grateful to pupil from many primary schools, especially the Aktive Naturschule Templin, who observed the ice development in the winter of 2008/09 from lakes all over the state of Brandenburg. We thank J.J. Magnuson and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments and suggestions that helped improve the original manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliane Bernhardt
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christof Engelhardt
    • 1
  • Georgiy Kirillin
    • 1
  • Jörg Matschullat
    • 2
  1. 1.EcohydrologyLeibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Environmental Research CentreTechnical University Bergakademie FreibergFreibergGermany

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