“Weird” Ice The Norm for Madison Lakes

Following up on our posts of Lake Mendota freezing while Monona flirted with open water, Ted Bier, the Long-Term Ecological Research team’s senior research specialist, sent in this photo. It shows Ted a few winters back drilling a hole through twenty inches of ice on Lake Monona, while open water laps at the edge in the background.

Ted Bier conducts winter sampling, drilling through 20 inches of ice while open water laps in the background. Photo: Ted Bier
Ted Bier conducts winter sampling, drilling through 20 inches of ice while open water laps in the background. Photo: Ted Bier

Here’s what Ted had to say about the picture.

It was cold as [insert colorful expression] that day, yet the hole was growing. That same year, on Kegonsa, we lost 8 inches of ice from the bottom up in 3 hours (the thickness went from 18″to 10″). The water right below the ice was 3C and noticeably flowing. Weather that day was 10 Fahrenheit and there was a 20mph wind.
In my 11 years, I have fallen through the ice four times – twice up to my waist, and twice over my head. On all occasions, the temperature was well below freezing, and had been for many days.
Madison Lakes should NEVER be trusted.

We should note that Ted always has a survival suit, ice picks, and a partner when he’s conducting the LTER’s winter sampling. If you’re going to go out on the ice, be prepared (and, of course, wait until this ridiculous warm front/thunderstorm has passed!)
A look at the video below might not hurt either! (Warning: Don’t attempt this…well, ever.)

 

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