Lake Champlain Ices Over

View a slideshow of ice images from around the Champlain Basin. Photo by Phyl Newbeck.

For the first time since 2007 Lake Champlain froze over. According to the records kept by the National Weather Service, ice cover used to be a fairly common event. Starting around the 1950s however, complete ice cover became more unusual.

The ice cover has encouraged many people to get out and explore the lake in a different manner. However, as the days lengthen and sun intensity increases ice will quickly loose its integrity. Old ice is not as strong as new ice. Over time ice can partially thaw and refreeze, but the partial thaws create weak spots, making the ice less reliable.

Most lake ice melting occurs from the bottom. The ice transmits light which warms the underlying water. Snow acts as an insulating layer slowing the melt process. As the ice begins to melt, long thin crystals form. These are even better at transmitting light and melting accelerates. Once the water warms sufficiently, break up can occur rapidly. Click here for photos showcasing the beauty and variety of Lake Champlain ice. Many thanks to Lori Fisher, Cathy Frank, Gary Kjelleren, Phyl Newbeck, Vincent Rossano and Jessica Rossi for sharing their pictures with LCC!