1.26.13: Ballon Ice-Meter Predicts 9 Inches of Ice

Ok, I have been writing this e-newsletter for a little over two years, and we all need a break now and again.  Some people skydive, some go on safaris, bungy-jump, or whatever; I go ice fishing.

To be specific, I have gone ice fishing with the same group of four to six guys I know from high school at the same northern Pennsylvania lake (which will remain nameless – don’t want additional fishing pressure, you know) for the past 35 years.  Doesn’t sound like fun?  You should try it; the peace and quiet found on a frozen lake is Zen-like!

Anyway, one of my buddies, Doug, is a physicist and a fisherman, although perhaps not in that order.  He has an exceptional mathematical mind.  A number of trips ago, he thought it would be useful to predict the lake’s potential ice thickness.  Where the rest of the guys would just note if temperatures were above or below freezing, that was not good enough for Doug; he pulled out his slide rule and developed a formula to predict the ice thickness based on daily temperature readings from the weather station nearest to the lake.  At first we laughed, but as we added data points each year (projected versus actual – just like real estate cash flows), the model became more and more accurate.  Now we look forward to seeing how close Doug’s model is to actual every year.

predicting ice thickness

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