Monitoring Lake Champlain to Assess Future Climate Change Impacts


February 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017


This project examines the impact of climate change on Lake Champlain. The 24-month monitoring project focuses on the lake’s surface and internal climate. A data buoy, to be placed near Valcour Island, will be used to gather long-term high-frequency subsurface observations and meteorological data on the Main Lake. Temperature sensors suspended below the buoy will gather data from Spring to Fall on the vertical profiles of the lake’s thermal structure. In addition, two multiprobes - one placed near the surface and another lower in the hypolimnion - will continuously collect temperature, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen readings. The data will be transmitted from the buoys sensors via satellite to researchers at SUNY Plattsburgh. This project will provide a foundation for further assessment of Lake Champlain as a long-term climate monitoring program.

To view live data from the research buoy, please visit Eric Leibensperger's webpage

View a brochure about the data buoy (PDF).

Project update: Thee data buoy has been deployed for multiple seasons and observations streamed to researchers and public. The project supported three undergraduate researchers and generated a citizen science project, LCATdb, allowing anglers to submit and view observations. Observations were used by the National Weather Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Lake Champlain scientific researchers, and recreationalists. The website containing regularly updated graphics and data was visited more than 10,000 times.

Data from this project was used as an educational tool during the Lake Champlain Fisheries Leadership Institute and a meeting of the Lake Champlain United angling club. Researchers used the data to reinforce the rapid rate of warming in the lake, predict future warming rates, and begin to assess the future of mixing within the lake.


Eric M. Leibensperger
Associate Professor, SUNY Plattsburgh
eric.leibensperger [at]

Resulting Publications

Research Seminar: Upwelling in Lake Champlain's South Main Lake: Identifying Events and Assessing Impacts

Published 2021
In this video recording, Eric Leibensperger, of Ithaca College, presents his research on upwelling in Lake Champlain’s South Main Lake, a project funded by Lake Champlain Sea Grant and administered by SUNY-Plattsburgh. The research helps managers better understand consequences of policy decisions, while also shedding light on physical processes (upwelling) that are not controllable and may be modified by a changing climate.