This year’s ice-out occurred on April 12th. The earliest recorded ice out was on March 24, 2012, and the latest in 2018 on May 2nd. Keeping ice records is important for understanding lake water quality in an individual year as well as overtime, and, increasingly, scientists are interested in ice in, ice duration, and ice out data as an indicator of climate change. For a complete history of ice-in and ice-out records, visit the Upper Saranac Foundation’s Web page.
Ice-out records have been monitored on Upper Saranac Lake since 1998. Since 2012, the Upper Saranac Foundation has taken up the maintenance of these records and has added ice-in and ice-out duration statistics. These records help in our ongoing work to study and understand changes occurring in the Upper Saranac Lake watershed. While the implications for recreational use are obvious, there are also ecological effects – warming waters pose threats to native aquatic species such as trout. This change can also provide opportunities for invasive species to encroach on the watershed.
The duration of ice on USL for this season lasted 114 days, beginning December 20, 2021. While USL’s ice duration records are very limited, nearby lakes such as Mirror Lake have records dating back as far as 1903. Their records indicate a significant reduction in the duration of ice cover over time, with current ice cover on average 26 days shorter than it was in 1903. Mirror Lakes’ mean duration of ice cover over the entire record is 140 days. The mean duration since 2000 is 124 days.