Integrating Remote Sensing, In Situ, And Physically-Based Modeling Approaches To Understand Global Lake Ice Dynamics

About the Workshop

Winter ice-covered lakes dominate the landscape, yet we lack the cross-disciplinary tools and consistent methodologies needed to explore the extensive changes that are likely to occur both within lakes as well as across lakes at regional and global scales. Three approaches are commonly used to assess lake ice condition: analyzing data collected in situ; extracting ice condition from remotely sensed products; and simulating lake ice dynamics using physically based models. A better understanding of lake ice dynamics, at local to global scales, will only be found through an interdisciplinary approach that combines modeling, remote sensing, and observational data.

This workshop will bring together scientists from limnology, numerical modeling of ice, remote sensing, and water resource management to achieve the following goals:

  1. Synthesize the latest progress in understanding lake ice from the in situ, remote sensing and modeling communities.
  2. Develop consensus on terminology, metadata, and data exchange formats among data sourced from in situ, remote sensing, and models (one or multiple datasets archived online for public use), that could allow for the establishment of a global in situ lake ice database.
  3. Identify key areas where combined approaches can be used to address critical science/engineering/societal/management questions, using input from the scientific community.
  4. Address critical questions in understanding lake ice that require cross-disciplinary approaches.
  5. Encourage collaboration among researchers from different communities.

The steering committee

Questions? Contact any of us listed above!

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Workshop Details

Workshop location, dates and times:

The workshop will be held in Madison, WI in Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus February 5-9.

  • Arrival: Sunday Feb 5
  • Start: 8:30am Monday Feb 6
  • End: 12pm (noon) Thursday Feb 9
  • Optional: Attend the Frozen Assets Festival. The Center for Limnology has a booth at this event, so there are opportunities to do public outreach. More information from our group will be available in advance.

This is a working meeting and participants are expected to be present for the full workshop. Our goal is to develop manuscripts during the meeting to maximize our time together.


Expectations and Compensation

Participants are expected to

  • be fully engaged in workshop events listed in the agenda, and able to set aside regular work distractions
  • continue to engage collaboratively in writing products/manuscripts after the workshop ends
  • abide by the code of conduct

Hotel costs are covered by the workshop, and there are no registration costs.

Compensation is available as a stipend to offset costs associated with participating in the full activities associated with the workshop. The stipend is $750 for in-person attendees.

International participants can qualify for the stipend. They must be in the US under a Visa Waiver Program (WT/WB status, such as ESTA) or with a B1/B2 visa. They must be spending 9 days or less on campus and have not accepted such payment from 5 other educational or research institutions in the USA in the previous 6-month period. The stipend will be provided as a bank wire transfer after the workshop.

Draft Program

Weekend (optional)

Activities in conjunction with Frozen Assets


  • Opening and Introductions
  • Three short talks providing overview of the state of understanding lake ice with in situ, remote sensing, and modeling approaches.
  • Weather-dependent – we will do a trip on the lake to do some in-situ lake ice sampling!
  • Working groups: Discussion and brainstorming of barriers and challenges


Potential topics for discussion in plenary and breakout groups

  • Challenges and issues raised from the first day.
  • How can we integrate radar & optical remote sensing strengths/weaknesses?
  • How can we develop a robust, global in situ lake ice dataset?
  • What are the major gaps in physical and statistical modeling of lake ice?
  • How can in situ observations and physically based modeling approaches better inform each other?
  • What is the best way to validate remote sensing datasets using in situ measurements?
  • How can we better use remote sensing to calibrate and validate models?
  • How do we define and analyze changing ice conditions with respect to intermittent ice cover and freeze thaw events?
  • How do we incorporate smaller lakes into our remote sensing, in situ, and experimental observations?
  • How do watershed and landscape characteristics influence lake ice phenology?
  • How can we combine remote sensing, modeling and in situ to optimally quantify changing ice phenology globally?
  • How can we combine remote sensing, modeling and in situ to optimally quantify changing ice thickness globally?
  • How can we better project future changes in ice phenology and thickness?


  • Plenary: Discussion of potential products.
  • Working groups: Discussion, outlining and writing.


  • Planning next steps
  • Synthesize the outcomes of the meeting

Post-workshop activities

Working groups formed during the workshop will continue to work together to complete manuscripts and other products. Working group structure and leads will be determined during the workshop, and workplans with timelines will be developed.

Workshop Application

Applications are closed.


For those attending the workshop, please complete the registration form.

Registration due Jan 6th: Google form

Travel form due Feb 2nd: Google form



We are holding a block of rooms at the Fluno Center and will reserve one in your name. Hotel costs will be paid for directly by the workshop organizers. Paid parking is available for $15/day.


The meeting will be held at the Memorial Union on Lake Mendota, on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus.


Participants should arrange and pay for their own travel to Madison Wisconsin, USA.

Flights: Madison has a local airport (MSN) that has flights to many locations, including major airline hubs (e.g. Chicago), so it should be possible to book flights into Madison (airport code MSN). We will try to pick you up at the Madison airport upon arrival, so make sure you provide your travel itinerary and contact information! There are also many taxi services as well as Uber and Lyft.

There are also regional buses to Milwaukee and Chicago airports (MKE, ORD).


Light refreshments (coffee, juice, snacks) are provided during the meeting times.

You are responsible for your meal costs. A breakfast is provided at hotel. For lunch, there are ample places within walking distance (1 block) of the meeting venue and we will self-organize. We will also coordinate dinner plans and have at least one group dinner.

Code of Conduct

Expected behavior

  1. All participants are treated with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions.
  2. Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.
  3. Communicate openly with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  4. Avoid personal attacks directed toward other attendees.
  5. Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert organizers if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
  6. Respect the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotels,  or any other venue.
  7. Working groups will share data, drafts, and information according to policies outlined in the Code of Conduct, which will be provided to participants in advance and discussed on the first day of the workshop.

Unacceptable Behavior

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations, or threatening or stalking any attendee or other meeting guest.

The following behaviors are not tolerated:

  1. Harassment, bullying, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  2. Physical or verbal abuse of any attendee, or other meeting guest.

Post Workshop

Participating in the workshop implies you are willing to continue to engage with material and each other to work on developing products such as manuscripts. After the workshop, we will conduct several activities that will ensure that the participant interactions and workshop goals continue. Potential activities include a special session on lake ice at a future ASLO or AGU meeting, regular updates from research groups to gauge progress on manuscripts, and periodic group Zoom calls in order to foster continued collaboration.

Financial support

This workshop is supported by the US National Science Foundation DBI Award 2033672