Snow and ice mass balance in the Finnish Arctic

The Arctic Amplification (AA) has a direct impact on Boreal lakes. The warmer air temperature and enhanced snow condition favour granular ice formation in boreal lakes. In order to better understand climate change on Lake Ice phenology, a thermistor string-based ice mass balance (IMB) buoy called SIMBA ( has been deployed in Orajärvi lake in Sodankylä during winter season since 2009. Analyses of buoy data and development of SIMBA algorithm to retrieve buoy data automatically is one of the long-term cryosphere research collaborations between scientists from Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and Chinese research Institutes and Universities.

For a thicker ice floe, the buoyancy was large snow/ice interface is well above water level, the ice freezing up took place at ice bottom. However, the granular ice formation took place at snow-ice interface resulting a dynamic moving boundary between the snow and ice. A recent study focuses on development of SIMBA algorithm to identify this dynamic moving boundary (

Article: Cheng, Y., Cheng, B., Zheng, F., Vihma, T., Kontu, A., Yang, Q., & Liao, Z. (2020). Air/snow, snow/ice and ice/water interfaces detection from high-resolution vertical temperature profiles measured by ice mass-balance buoys on an Arctic lake. Annals of Glaciology, 1-11. doi:10.1017/aog.2020.51

Figure 1. An ice core sample collected in lake Orajärvi on 1 April 2020. The majority of ice floe was the granular ice.

Text by Bin Cheng and Timo Vihma, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

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