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Lake Champlain is not expected to freeze over after record warm January

A series of satellite images of Lake Champlain showing limited ice cover through the winter
Courtesy National Weather Service Burlington, compiled by Elodie Reed of Vermont Public
National Weather Service Burlington
Images taken of Lake Champlain from December 2022 to March 2023 were taken by the European Space Agency Sentinel-2 polar orbiting satellite and provided by the National Weather Service office in Burlington.

Lake Champlain is once again not expected to ice over this winter.

Between the early 1800s and the early 1900s, the lake typically froze over in January and early February. But it’s been four years since it froze over, and data shows ice coverage this year has been way below average.

Vermont experienced its warmest January on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mae Kate Campbell, an associate scientist at the Lake Champlain Basin Program, one of the organizations tracking the ice on Lake Champlain, said climate change is playing a role.

"It's definitely an impact that we've been seeing across the state," she said. "I think the impact is a bit more obvious with Lake Champlain, since it's the largest lake in the region. With a lot of things related to climate change, we're entering some uncharted territory."

Looking down at the frozen ice surface of Lake Champlain.
Henry Epp
Vermont Public
This file photo from March 2019 depicts the last time Lake Champlain froze over.

So far this year, four people have died as a result of falling through ice on Lake Champlain.

Officials say to make sure to check for any ice advisories in your area, and of course exercise extreme caution if you venture onto the ice.

"One really important message I want to say is that, you know, no ice is safe ice," Campbell said.

This story is a collaboration between Vermont Public and the Community News Service. The Community News Service is a student-powered partnership between the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program and community newspapers across Vermont.

Mary Kueser is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in public communication.
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