A deep temperate lake, Lake Kuttara, Hokkaido, Japan (148 m deep at maximum) was completely ice-covered every winter in the 20th century. However, ice-free conditions of the lake over winter occurred three times in the 21st century, which is probably due to global warming. In order to understand how thermal regime of the lake responds to climate change, a change in lake mean water temperature from the heat storage change was calculated by integrating observed water temperature over water depths and by numerical calculation of heat budget components based on hydrometeorological data. As a result, a temporal variation of lake mean water temperature from the heat budget calculation was very reasonable to that from the observed water temperature (determination coefficient R2
= 0.969). The lowest lake mean temperature for non-freeze was then evaluated at −1.87 °C, referring to the zero level at 6.80 °C. The 1978–2017 data at a meteorological station near Kuttara indicated that there are significant (less than 5% level) long-term trends for air temperature (+0.024 °C/year) and wind speed (−0.010 m/s/year). In order to evaluate the effects of climate change on freeze-up patterns, a sensitivity analysis was carried out for the calculated lake mean water temperature. It is noted that, after two decades, the lake could be ice-free once per every two years.
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