Pilot Service -8

Lead: Kirsikka Heinilä, Finnish Environment Institute
Image credit snowchange
Pilot service name

Lake Ice Service for Arctic Climate and Safety


To provide NRT information on the ice conditions of freshwater lakes


This service will provide near real-time information on the lake ice status for the middle and north Europe i.e. for areas where lakes get ice cover regularly or at least sporadically. The information on lake ice status is particularly important for communities living in the high latitude arctic or subarctic areas, as ice cover influences their daily life. This concerns livelihoods like reindeer herding and fishery, income by tourism industry (skiing, skating, swimming, fishing), shortening distances due to the ice-roads (related to easiness of everyday live, but also to the industry like transportation) and enabling access to the islands (numerous houses and summer cottages are located on the islands and weak ice conditions can temporalily disconnect the passage). And, essentially, changes in lake ice cover are related to climate change. The ice cover is an important and sensitive climate change indicator associated with monitoring of its long-term changes and yearly anomalies. According to Earth observation -based studies and in-situ measurements, freeze-up is already occurring later in the year, and break-up earlier, shortening the season of ice cover. Several models predict that global warming will continue to reduce the duration of cover and thickness of ice through the end of the 21st century in the Nordic-Baltic region. As cloud cover obscures the visibility of optical sensors to ground, there is an urgent need to develop an observing system for lake ice that combines the in situ and remote sensing based information. We will fill this gap.