Freeze/Thaw Cycle Analysis for the Great Lakes Region

Funded by GLISA Internal (NOAA Climate Program Office)

Project Summary

Practitioners in the region have expressed a need for updated information on how freeze-thaw cycles (FTCs) are changing across the region. Current trends are only available up to 2010, so GLISA is expanding the analysis to include data to present day. Quantifying FTC patterns is important to GLISA’s stakeholders because it can provide them with valuable information to aid in planning across several industries including tourism, transportation, and agriculture. Anticipated products from the synthesis of this work include updated trend information to include in GLISA’s Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region fact sheet and Climate 101 presentation as well as a more in-depth summary page on GLISA’s new website. 

Project Accomplishments

  • Maps of freeze/thaw cycles changes across the region
  • Summary statistics that will be incorporated into GLISA’s fact sheets
  • Summary webpage detailing the current research finding for FTC across the region

Research Findings

  • FTCs have important impacts for a variety of economic sectors across the region, including agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure.
  • FTCs are decreasing over time, and have seen the biggest decreases region-wide in the past 20 years.
  • FTCs are likely to continue decreasing in the future, though the amount varies by location.
  • Individual locations are more prone to fluctuations than others on an annual basis.

GLISA Contribution

GLISA retrieved data from the Global Historical Climatology Network Daily (GHCN-D) station to calculate the freeze thaw cycles (FTCs) throughout the region. GLISA performed a literature review of various methodologies and impacts related to FTCs, and the results are synthesized in an overview, which will become a Climate Summary page for GLISA.  

GLISA Contact

Omar Gates, Climatologist,