Birkel quoted in WGME report on climate change, lake ice

Sean Birkel, Maine State Climatologist and a research assistant professor at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, was quoted in a WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) report on climate change and lake ice. Climate change could result in less lake ice in the near future, which would present problems for ice fishermen — and some depend on it for a living. Birkel said there is a “clear trend” showing that winters are becoming shorter, with ice often breaking up earlier in the spring. And while ice varies greatly from lake to lake, many lakes have one to two fewer weeks of ice time than a few decades ago, according to Birkel. Warmer lakes also could encourage the growth of algal blooms and make it more difficult for cold-water fish to survive, and could affect community events like fishing derbies that depend on thick ice cover, the report states.