LOGAN – Why is the amount of time Yellowstone Lake is covered by ice each winter holding steady while lakes around the world are experiencing shorter periods of ice cover?

New research from Utah State University’s Quinney College of Natural Resources has found unexpected outcomes in a warming world.

The Quinney College team, led by Watershed Sciences professor Scott Hotaling, found that even though the region around the lake has seen a warming climate for decades, increased snowfall at the lake has likely served as a buffer against warmer weather.

At 7,733 feet above sea level, Yellowstone Lake is North America’s largest high-elevation lake and it freezes over completely in late December and usually thaws in late May or early June.

Hotaling said air temperatures play a key role in driving ice formation and break-up; but the team did not find evidence for corresponding shifts in ice cover timing at Yellowstone Lake.



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