Ice Resources

Ice Science

Observing ice is an important component in making new discoveries about the many curious and fascinating aspects of frozen water and its role the environment and people’s lives. One of the goals of the Fresh Eyes on Ice project is to provide data products to support broader understanding of the Arctic system. Addressing questions about how river and lake ice interacts with other Earth systems starts with providing comprehensive data sets to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of freshwater ecosystems! These links are some examples of what scientists have learned about ice so far, including research projects that explore freshwater ice in the Arctic. 

Basic Frozen Water Knowledge and Discovery

Lake Ice from a Recreational Perspective

Wikipedia on Ice

National Geographic Resource Library on Ice

Ice Formation Physics

Freshwater Ice and Climate Change

Extreme Events for Lake Ice

The Past and Future of Global River Ice

Arctic Lake and River Ice

Union of Concerned Scientists: Water and Climate Change

Applying Ice Science to Society

Committee on River Ice Processes and the Environment

How to Build an Ice Road

Ice Jam Flooding Prediction

Natural Skating Rinks

Past and Present Research in the Arctic

Arctic Lake Ice System Science

Arctic Freshwater Systems: Hydrology and Ecology

Committee on River Ice Processes and the Environment

Research Products Linking Freshwater Ice to the Arctic System

Depth, ice thickness, and iceout timing cause divergent hydrologic responses among Arctic lakes

Arctic sea ice decline contributes to thinning lake ice trend in northern Alaska


Ice Learning

Safe ice is fun to play on! Playing on ice leads to learning and discovery. Fresh Eyes on Ice aims to spark interest in science through an ice and snow observation network where youth contribute to large scale, cutting edge climate change research, conduct their own investigations, and learn about physics, weather and climate, and the environment. We work with teachers, parents, and community members to create age-appropriate ice learning activities and lesson plans. Use the resources below to integrate Fresh Eyes on Ice into your classroom or youth group and learn more about our research on citizen science learning and engagement. 

Activities, Media, and Lesson Plans for Learning about Ice


Content Standards Alignment: Matter and Energy


Content Standards Alignment: Earth Systems, Earth and Human Activity


Content Standards Alignment: Defining and delimiting problems and possible solutions


Practice Standards Alignment: Analyzing and Interpreting Data 


Culturally-Responsive Curriculum Standards Alignment: Value personal, local and Indigenous knowledge


Resources from Related Snow, Ice and Freshwater Monitoring Programs:

Alaska Lake Ice and Snow Observation Network (ALISON)

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) 

Alaska RiverWatch


Fun Ice Videos

Ice Safety

Fresh Eyes on Ice aims to provide data to help in making decisions about safe winter travel and recreation on Alaska rivers and lakes. Our estimates of ice thickness and overflow conditions can be used to make decisions about general ice conditions. However, extra precaution is always advised in using these data because ice conditions can vary greatly from place to place, particularly on rivers. Early and late winter conditions can be especially unpredictable. Always use extra precautions such as traveling with personal flotation devices, ropes, and ice picks.

The following links provide more detailed information for evaluating safe ice conditions and preparing for ice emergencies.

General Ice Thickness Guidelines (Minnesota DNR)

Ice Thickness Safety Information (Bethel Search & Rescue)

On Dangerous Ice (UAF Project Jukebox)

Overflow & Slush (

Ice Rescue (Minnesota DNR)

Ice Fall-through Self-rescue Video

Local Ice Knowledge

Many people in northern regions naturally build great knowledge about ice on rivers and lakes. A Native Elder who grew up hunting, fishing, and traveling in the Arctic. A hard core ice fisherperson who religiously tracks ice thickness and overflow conditions. A North Slope oilfield worker with many years of experience pumping water from lakes to build an ice road. Often times it is year-round residents living by a lake or river who pay close attention when ice first forms in the fall and goes out in the spring. Knowledge from all of these examples and more can be considered sources of local ice knowledge. As part of the Fresh Eyes on Ice observation network, we are working to bring this extremely useful knowledge to inform ice datasets, science, and safety.

Below we provide some sources of local ice knowledge that we are working to synthesize and very much welcome contributions or introductions to new people with fresh or ancient eyes on ice!

Ice Knowledge from Indigenous Sources

Dangerous Ice Project Jukebox: Photos, audio recordings, and video highlighting traditional knowledge of ice from Interior AK rivers

Nunavik Ice Service

Local Ice Reports and Blogs

NWS River Forecast Center - Ice Thickness

Historic Accounts of Freshwater Ice Conditions

Report on Ice Growth and Decay Records from 1960-70's in Alaska and Canada