Climate change is resulting in changing winter conditions across the northern hemisphere, leading to warmer winters, reduced lake and river ice cover, changes in snow cover and precipitation patterns, and more frequent winter thaw events. Despite these ongoing changes, there is still relatively little known about how winter conditions influence the biogeochemistry and ecology of northern lakes, particularly for lakes at high latitudes (i.e. above the Arctic circle). This lack of baseline knowledge on the dynamics and ecological importance of winter processes makes it difficult to assess how future changes in winter conditions and ice cover will affect lake ecosystems and the services they provide. The LakeIce project focuses on providing preliminary data on aquatic biogeochemistry and ecology of high latitude Norwegian lakes during the ice-covered period and just after ice-off. By carrying out winter sampling of lakes that are included in existing national freshwater monitoring programmes (ØKOFERSK, ØKOSTOR), this study provides an opportunity for comparing winter/spring conditions with existing monitoring data from the open water season in order to gain insight into the importance of under-ice processes for high latitude lake ecosystems. The LakeIce project also focuses on building capacity and identifying key research needs and priorities related to winter ecology in high latitude lakes through creation of a new interdisciplinary network of researchers, and organization of a scientific workshop focused on working with preliminary data and preparing a larger external proposal on effects of changing winter conditions on high latitude lake ecosystems and the services they provide.
Project manager: Amanda Poste
Project code: 539 1152019