Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Why do lakes and ponds freeze and how does it happen?

Each year I am in awe of why and how lakes and ponds freeze. It's a sight to behold. How does it happen? Do you wonder? It's time to get the answers. Sit back and relax.

The water starts changing temperature and weight in late summer. The bottom layer of lakes and ponds are the heaviest of all. The water is in layers all the way to the top. Open waters are deeper than the waters close to shore. It takes longer for the deep waters to freeze. Some years it doesn't freeze over because it's not cold enough.
When the temperature of the top of the lakes and ponds reaches 32 degrees, they start to freeze. Ice and water are not the same density. Ice is the least compact and so, as the lakes and ponds start to freeze, you will see pieces of ice move across the water.

What is the greatest reward of water freezing from the top down? The fish, plants and other life that live in the water live at the bottom of the lakes and ponds where it is 40 degrees (as long as the ponds are deep enough).  If you have a water feature which includes a pond in your yard, it does not get deep enough.


The photo just above is of swans taking off. They had landed on Lake Mendota, fed, and then flew off. They were a lot of fun to watch.

As you can see, the snow is at the bottom of the above photo. This is closest to the land. As the cold air gets colder and colder during the winter months, we see these changes. It's a beauty to behold.

Above the sun shines brightly on the icy top of Lake Mendota. The sun, reflected twice, is something I hadn't seen before. Have you? As I stood there, I took in the birds that were swimming in the open waters.

Do you know about steam fog, as you can see in the above photo(s)? Steam fog is formed when the cold air moves across a warm lake. It's fascinating to see. Have you seen it?The wonders of different temperatures.

Get outside and enjoy the wonders of life in the winter.

Coming next week: learn about the great blue heron.

Thank you for visiting!








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