Warmer Winters and Ice-Based Cultural Ecosystem Services: Empirical Evidence from USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Sweden

  • Lesley B Knoll (Creator)
  • Sapna Sharma (Creator)
  • Blaize A. Denfeld (Creator)
  • Giovanna Flaim (Creator)
  • Yukari Hori (Creator)
  • John Magnuson (Creator)
  • Dietmar Straile (Creator)
  • Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer (Creator)



Lakes and rivers covered by seasonal ice are extensively used by humans. Although ice cover duration has been declining over the past 150 years for Northern Hemisphere lakes and rivers, we still know relatively little about how inland ice loss directly affects humans. Here we provide empirical examples that give quantitative evidence for a winter warming effect on a wide range of cultural ecosystem services. We show that in recent decades, warmer temperatures delayed the opening date of the James Bay winter ice road in northern Ontario, Canada and led to cancellations of religious celebrations (Lake Suwa, Japan and Lake Constance, Germany/Switzerland/Austria), an ice skating race on Lake Mälaren, Sweden, and winter ice fishing tournaments in Central and Northern Minnesota.

The years with no ice cover on Lake Suwa, Japan from 1443 - 2017. The years with ice cover on Lake Constance, Germany/Switzerland/Austria from 875 - 2018. The years with a normal Vikingarännet ice skating race, a modified route, or no race on Lake Mälaren, Sweden from 1999 - 2017 as well as associated average winter air temperature. The years with canceled ice fishing tournaments in central and northern Minnesota, USA as well as associated average winter air temperature from 2005 - 2017. Road date openings of the James Bay winter ice road in northern Ontario, Canada and associated freezing degree days from 2005 - 2018.

Funding information
Sponsorship: Funding support for BAD was provided by Kempestiftelserna.
Date made available2019
PublisherData Repository for the University of Minnesota

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