Relationships between air temperature and ice conditions on the southern Baltic coastal lakes in the context of climate change

Lake Łebsko, in the mouth of the Łeba river
Submitted: 18 October 2021
Accepted: 18 March 2022
Published: 22 April 2022
Abstract Views: 2626
PDF: 403
HTML: 119
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


Shallow, lagoonal coastal lakes of the Southern Baltic are exceptionally susceptible to atmospheric factors. This work examines the influence of winter air temperatures in Ustka on ice parameters (dates of first ice occurrence and last ice disappearance, ice season duration, number of days with ice, and maximum ice thickness) on Southern Baltic coastal lakes (Jamno, Bukowo, Gardno, Łebsko), and trends displayed by changes in these parameters over the period spanning 1960/61-2019/20. The research data was retrieved from the archives of Institute of Meteorology and Water Management – National Research Institute. As a first step of the analysis, we investigated the statistical relationships in spatial and temporal variations in winter air temperature and coastal lake ice parameters. Correlation and regression method was employed to determine the influence of air temperature on coastal lake ice conditions. Correlation and determination coefficients were calculated, and linear regression equations were determined. The statistical significance of the observed relationships was assessed using Fisher-Snedecor test. Additionally, linear trend models were constructed. Our analysis indicates that from 1960/61 to 2019/20, the average rate of increase in winter temperature (December-March) in Ustka equalled 0.04°C ⋅year-1. The correlation coefficients for air temperature versus ice parameters were highly statistically significant (p<0.001). The strongest relationships (with correlation coefficients below -0.90) occurred between air temperature and number of days with ice. Ice season duration and number of days with ice are both closely linked with last ice disappearance date and ice thickness. Our analysis shows that a 1°C increase in average seasonal air temperature will result in the number of days with ice on the studied coastal lakes becoming reduced by 16-17 days. All trends in ice parameters indicate a mildening of ice conditions. Most of the assessed trends are statistically significant. The strongest trends were observed for ice season duration, and indicate its shortening toward the east, from 0.66 day ⋅year-1 (Lake Jamno) to 1.16 day ⋅year-1 (Lake Łebsko). All correlation coefficients for ice trends were found to increase eastward, which could be explained by an increasing influence of the warming climate over the Southern Baltic in this direction. The strong relationships between air temperature and Southern Baltic coastal lake ice parameters, and the determined rate of changes may have a significance for forecasting, as the shifting dates of ice formation and disappearance on lakes are highly important for the lake hydrodynamics, and the functioning of aquatic ecosystems.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Abuzyarow ZK, Kudryaraya KI, Seryakov YL, Skriptunova LI, 1988. Marine forecasting. [Book in Russian]. Gidrometeozdat, Leningrad: 319 pp.
Arai T, 2000. The hydro-climatological significance of long-term ice records of Lake Suwa, Japan. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 27:2757-2760. DOI:
Bartosiewicz M, Ptak M, Woolway RI, Sojka M, 2021. On thinning ice: Effects of atmospheric warming, changes in wind speed and rainfall on ice conditions in temperate lakes (Northern Poland). J. Hydrol. 597:125724. DOI:
Benson B, Magnuson JJ, Jensen OP, Card VM, Hodgkins G, Korhonen J, Livingstone DM, Steward KM, Wayhenmeyer GA, Granin NG, 2012. Extreme events, trends, and variability in Northern Hemisphere lake-ice phenology (1855-2005). Climate Change 112:299-323. DOI:
Bernhardt J, Engelhardt C, Kirillin G, Matschullat J, 2012. Lake ice phenology in Berlin-Brandenburg from 1947-2007: observations and model hindcasts. Climatic Change 112:791-817. DOI:
Choiński A, 1995. [Outline of physical limnology of Poland].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Adama Mickiewicza, Poznań: 298 pp.
Choiński A, 2006. [Catalogue of Polish Lakes].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Adama Mickiewicza, Poznań: 600 pp.
Choiński A, 2010. [Ice phenomena on Lake Jamno], p. 33-42. In: A. Choiński (ed.), [Transformation of lakes and water reservoirs].[Book in Polish]. Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznań.
Choiński A, Ptak M, Skowron R, 2014. [Trends to changes in ice phenomena in Polish lakes in the years 1951-2010].[Article in Polish]. Przegląd Geograficzny 86:23-40. DOI:
Choiński A, Ptak M, Skowron R, Strzelczak A, 2015. Changes in ice phenology on Polish lakes from 1961 to 2010 related to location and morphometry. Limnologica 53:42-49. DOI:
Dąbrowski M, Marszalewski W, Skowron R, 2004. The trends and dependencies between air and water temperatures in the lakes located in Northern Poland in years 1961-2000. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 8:79-87. DOI:
Dibike Y, Prowse T, Saloranta T, Ahmed R, 2011. Response of Northern Hemisphere lake-ice cover and lake-water thermal structure patterns to changing climate. Hydrological Processes 25:2942-2953. DOI:
Girjatowicz JP, 2002. [Ice cover in the Polish coastal lakes], p. 13-24 In: M. Ciaciura (ed.), [21st century nature conservation problems].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego, Szczecin.
Girjatowicz JP, 2003a. Ice conditions in coastal lakes of the southern Baltic Sea. Ann. Limnol. – Int. J. Lim. 39:317-331. DOI:
Girjatowicz JP, 2003b. The influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on ice conditions in coastal lakes of the Southern Baltic Sea. Ann. Limnol. – Int. J. Lim. 39:71-80. DOI:
Girjatowicz JP, 2007. [Catalogue of ice conditions and thermic conditions on the Polish coast].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego, Szczecin: 105 pp.
Girjatowicz JP, Świątek M, 2021. Relationship between air temperature change and southern Baltic coastal lagoons ice conditions. Atmosphere 12:931. DOI:
Gołek J, 1987. Ice phenomena on rivers and lakes, p. 71-75. In: Atlas of Polish Lakes. [Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwa Geologiczne, Warszawa.
Gronskaya TP, 2000. Ice thickness in relation to climate forcing in Russia. Verh. Internat. Verein Limnol 27:2800–2802. DOI:
Heino R, Tuomenvirta H, Vuglinsky VS, Gustafsson BG, Alexandersson H, Bärring L, Briede A, Cappelen J, Chen D, Falarz M, Førland EJ, Haapala J, Jaagus J, Kitaev L, Kont A, Kuusisto E, Lindström G, Meier MHE, Miętus M, Moberg A, Myrberg K, Niedźwiedź T, Nordli Ø, Omstedt A, Orviku K, Pruszak Z, Rimkus E, Russak V, Schrum C, Suursaar Ü, Vihma T, Weisse R, Wibig J, 2008. Past and current climate change, p. 35-132. In: the BACC Authors Team, Assesment of climate change for the Baltic Sea. Springer, Dordrecht. DOI:
Jaagus J, 2006. Trends in sea conditions in the Baltic Sea near the Estonian coast during the period 1949/1950-2003/2004 and their relationships to long-scale atmospheric circulation. Boreal Environ. Res. 11:169-183.
Janérus K, Jansson JE, 1982. Climatological ice atlas for the Baltic Sea, Kattegat, Skagerrak and Lake Vänern (1963-1979). Sjöfortsverket, Norrköping (Sweden).
Jensen OP, Benson BJ, Magnuson JJ, Card VM, Futter MN, Soranno PA, Stewart KM, 2007. Spatial analysis of ice phenology trends across the Lauretanian Great Lakes region during a recent warming period. Limnol. Oceanogr. 52:2013-2026. DOI:
Jevrejeva S, 2002. Association between the ice conditions in the Baltic Sea along the Estonian coast and the North Atlantic oscillation. Nordic Hydrol. 33:319-330. DOI:
Jevrejeva S, Drabkin VV, Kostjukov J, Lebedev AA, Leppäranta M, 2004. Baltic Sea season in the twentieth century. Climate Res. 25:217-227. DOI:
Karetnikov S, Leppäranta M, Montonen A, 2017. A time series of over 100 years of ice season on Lake Ladoga. J. Great Lakes Res. 43:979-988. DOI:
Kirillin G, Leppäranta M, Terzhevik A, Granin N, Bernhardt J, Engelhardt C, Efremova T, Golosov S, Palshin N, Sherstyyankin P, Zderovennova G, Zdrovennov R, 2012. Physics of seasonally ice-covered lakes: a review. Aquat. Sci. 74:659-682. DOI:
Korhonen J, 2006. Long-term changes in lake ice cover in Finland. Nordic Hydrol. 37:347-363. DOI:
Kratz TK, Hayden BP, Benson BJ, Chang WYB, 2000. Patterns in the interannual variability of lake freeze and thaw dates. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 27:2796-2799. DOI:
Kuusisto E, Elo A-R, 2000. Lake and river ice variable as climate indicators in Northen Europe. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 27:2761-2764. DOI:
Leppäranta, M., 2010. Modelling of formation and decay of lake ice, p. 63-83. In: G. George (ed.), The impact of climate change on European lakes. Springer, Dordrecht. DOI:
Leppäranta M, 2014. Interpretation of statistics of lake ice time series for climate variability. Hydrol. Res. 45:673-683. DOI:
Leppäranta M, Palosuo E, Grönvall H, Kalliosaari S, Seinä A, Peltola J, 1988. Phases of the ice season in the Baltic Sea. Finnish Mar. Res. 254:S1-83.
Livingstone MD, Adrian R, Blenckner T, George G, Wejhenmeyer GA, 2010. Lake ice phenology, p. 50-61. In: G. George (ed.), The impact of climate change on European lakes. Springer, Dordrecht. DOI:
Magnuson JJ, Robertson DM, Benson BJ, Wynne RH, Livingstone DM, Arai T, Assel RA, Barry RG, Card V, Kuusisto E, Granin NG, Prowse TD, Steward KM, Vuglinski VS, 2000. Historical trends in lake and river ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Science 289:1743-1746. DOI:
Maliński J, 1971. [Ice conditions in the Szczecin Lagoon].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Komunikacji i Łącznosci, Warszawa: 44 pp.
Marszelewski W, Skowron R, 2006. Ice cover as an indicator of winter air temperature changes: case study of the Polish Lowland lakes. Hydrol. Sci. J. 51:336-349. DOI:
Mishra V, Cherkauer KA, Bowling LC, Huber M, 2011. Lake Ice phenology of small lakes: impacts of climate variability in the Great Lakes region. Global Planet. Change 76:166-185. DOI:
Nôges P, Nôges T, 2014. Weak trends in ice phenology of Estonian large lakes despite significant warming trends. Hydrobiologia 731:5-18. DOI:
Nôges P, Nôges T, Jolma A, Kaitaranta J, 2009. Impact of climate change on Physical characteristics of lakes in Europe. JRC Scientific and technical reports. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxemburg: 56 pp.
Omstedt A, Chen D, 2001. Influence of atmospheric circulation on the maximum ice extent in the Baltic Sea. J. Geophys. Res. 109:4493-4500. DOI:
Palecki MA, Barry RG, 1986. Freeze-up and break-up lakes as an index of temperature changes during transition seasons: a case study for Finland. J. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol. 25:893-902. DOI:<0893:FUABUO>2.0.CO;2
Pasławski Z, 1982. [Ice conditions of the lakes in Poland].[Article in Polish]. Przegląd Geofizyczny 1-2:79-92.
Piccolroaz S, Zhu S, Ptak M, Sojka M, Du X, 2021. Warming of lowland Polish lakes under future climate change scenarios and consequences for ice cover and mixing dynamics. J. Hydrology. Reg. Stud. 34:100780. DOI:
Ptak M, 2013. Variability of temperature and ice phenomena on Łebsko and Gardno lakes. Parki Narodowe i Rezerwaty Przyrody 32:45-55.
Ptak M, Sojka M, 2021. The disappearance of ice cover on temperate lakes (Central Europe) as a result of climate warming. Geograph. J. 187:200-213. DOI:
Salonen K, Leppäranta M, Viljanen M, Gulati RD, 2009. Perspectives in winter limnology: closing the annual cycle of freezing lakes. Aquat. Ecol. 43:609-616. DOI:
Schmelzer N, Holfort J, 2012. Climatological ice atlas for the western and southern Baltic Sea (1961-2010). Bundesamt für Seeschiffahrt und Hydrographie, Hamburg, Rostock: 88 pp.
Schönwiese Ch, Rapp J, 1997. Climate trend atlas of Europe based on observations 1891-1990. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht: 228 pp. DOI:
Scott J, 1964. A comparison of the heat balance of lakes in winter. Technical rept. No 13, Defense Technical Information Center (USA): 254 pp.
Skowron R, 2009. Changeability of the ice cover on the lakes of northern Poland in the light of climatic changes. Bull. Geography 1:103-124. DOI:
Skowron R, Szczepanik W, 1988. [Spatial differentiation and change tendencies in the course of ice phenomena on the lakes of northern Poland], p. 125-136. In: Z. Churski (ed.), [Natural and anthropogenic transformations of lakes and wetlands in Poland].[Book in Polish]. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń.
Sziwa R, Jańczak J, 2009. Extreme values of ice cover thickness and ice phenomena duration on lakes in Poland. Limnol. Rev. 9:111-119.
Time Series Analysis. Section III, 2010. Department of Statistics, University Oxford: 50 pp.
Ward JH, 1963. Hierarchical grouping to optimize an objective function. J. Am. Statist. Assoc. 58:236-244. DOI:
Weyhenmeyer GA, Meili M, Livingstone DM, 2004. Nonlinear temperature response of lake ice breakup. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31:L07203. DOI:
Weyhenmeyer GA, Westöö A-K, Willén E, 2008. Increasingly ice-free winters and their effects on water quality in Sweden Largest lakes. Hydrobiologia 599:11-118. DOI:
Wrzesiński D, Choiński A, Ptak M, Skowron R, 2015. Effect of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the pattern of like ice phenology in Poland. Acta Geoph. 63:1664-1684. DOI:
Vuglinsky VS, Gronskaya TP, Lemeshko NA, 2002. Long-term characteristics of ice events and ice thickness on the largest lakes and reservoirs of Russia, p. 88–91. Proceedings of the 16th IAHR International Symposium on Ice “Ice in the Environment”, Dunedin.

Edited by

Michela Rogora, CNR-IRSA Water Research Institute, Verbania, Italy

Supporting Agencies

Institute of Marine and Environmental Sciences, University of Szczecin, Poland, Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute, Poland

How to Cite

Girjatowicz, Józef Piotr, Małgorzata Świątek, and Halina Kowalewska-Kalkowska. 2022. “Relationships Between Air Temperature and Ice Conditions on the Southern Baltic Coastal Lakes in the Context of Climate Change”. Journal of Limnology 81 (1).