Global Lake and River Ice Phenology

The Global Lake and River Ice Phenology Database contains freeze and breakup dates and other ice cover descriptive data for 865 lakes and rivers. Of the 542 water bodies that have records longer than 19 years, 370 are in North America and 172 are in Eurasia; 249 have records longer than 50 years; and 66 longer than 100 years. A few have data prior to 1845. These data, from water bodies distributed around the Northern Hemisphere, allow analysis of broad spatial patterns as well as long-term temporal patterns.

The data set was prepared by the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research program at the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from data submitted by participants in the Lake Ice Analysis Group (LIAG). LIAG is an international ad hoc group of scientists who participated in a 1996 workshop sponsored by the Center of Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Science Foundation Division of Environmental Biology (Long-Term Studies Program) as well as other data contributors. The group is especially interested in continuous data extending for 30 years or more. If you wish to contribute data for inclusion in the database, please contact Corinna Gries ( at the Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Use the Freeze/Thaw Dates Search to retrieve freeze and thaw data by the available parameters from the database. Use the Physical Characteristics Search to retrieve more general information about the lakes and rivers in the database. The output can be directed to a Web browser, a gzipped file, or a tab-separated ASCII text file.

Note: The term phenology in the data set title refers to the seasonal phenomenon of the freezing and thawing of lake and river ice.

Access to the Global Lake and River Ice Phenology Database data set is unrestricted, but users are encouraged to register for the data. To do so, go to the Global Lake and River Ice Phenology Database data set landing page and click on the "Subscribe" button. Registered users will automatically receive e-mail notification about any product changes.