Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lake Ice Meditation

Many frozen lakes in North America will soon approach their annual ice-out. Ice-out is a harbinger of Spring. It heralds a season of warmer temperatures and of new and renewed life.

Lake ice displays many flow patterns and features over the course of a winter season like ice octopi and pressure ridges.
Gods Crossing
Pressure ridge on Lake Suwa
Japan's Lake Suwa is the site of a phenomena known as Gods Crossing. A hot spring in the lake causes ongoing circulation of warm water. When the lake ices over, the warm circulating water causes extruded pressure ridges. Local legend maintains that the ridges are formed by the gods crossing the lake.
Freezing and thawing of lakes has been recorded for hundred of years for cultural, religious and practical reasons. Ice records for Lake Suwa dates back more than 550 years.

The moment of ice-out is subjective:
  • for some, it's when the lake is free of ice; 
  • for others, it's the moment when navigation across the ice is no longer possible; and 
  • for others, it's when 90% of the lake is ice free.
Centuries of lake ice records give scientists insight into the climate conditions of the past.

"You never really know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks"
― Inuit Proverb