Due to the increased emissions of greenhouse gases, among other factors, our climate is changing. Accurately recording and analyzing "ice on" and "ice off" events (also known as ice phenology) as well as other factors like snow depth, air temperature and wildlife observations offers a practical way to learn how climate change affects our environment. Even if you live in a Southern State that doesn't experience ice, your winter observations are still important for the "big" picture, including air temperature, precipitation and wildlife viewing.
Around the globe, scientists have studied the freezing and thawing of ice on freshwater lakes, concluding that the climate is indeed warming. Likewise, scientists around the globe have been studying weather as well as wildlife behavior.
Seasonal differences in the ice cover of lakes and rivers can have a serious impact on our ecosystems. For example, changes in the migration patterns and breeding seasons of birds, food supplies for fish and mammals, water temperature and water chemistry, can occur. Additionally, ice cover affects trade, transportation, outdoor recreation, and tourism.