After this Long Winter, When Will the Lakes Finally Thaw?

by Rebekah Severson, age 15

With this winter’s record-breaking fronts, the depth of ice covering Madison’s lakes may have been the least of your worries - unless you spend your time fishing on it. With the worst of the winter season behind us, however, you may begin to wonder: when is all the ice going to melt?

Capital Times reporter Todd D. Melewski, sought out University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher, Ted Bier, in order to answer this question. According to Bier, who studies bodies of freshwater for the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, the lakes may not thaw until mid-April. This is due to the fact that ice formed this winter on every lake in and around Madison has been at least a whopping 2 feet thick. Compared to the average level of thickness, this year the ice is 40-50 percent thicker than usual.

“I’ve been here 13 years and it’s the thickest I’ve ever seen,” said Bier, after taking ice samples from the lake. Bier and his team found the depth of the ice from Lake Monona to be over 25 inches deep.

Lake Monona’s ice also froze earlier than normal on December 10th and has the potential of lasting 121 days. This would mark the longest period of ice cover since 1978.

Although we may have hoped for a quick end to winter, the ice on Madison’s lakes may have a different idea, especially after this unusual season.

[Source: The Capital Times]

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