Podcast: Why Do Frozen Lakes and Rivers Howl in the Night?

Listen to the first episode from the Completely Optional Knowledge podcast

by Ryan Schleeter

September 15, 2015

Introducing Completely Optional Knowledge, the podcast that answers questions you never knew you had. Some things in life are #CompletelyOptinonal — satisfying your curiosity doesn’t have to be one of them.

Frozen River Minnesota

The frozen banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota. A strange howling sound coming off the ice woke residents as it echoed for miles throughout the city in the winter of 2014. Photo by GSankary / Creative Commons.

Gary Sankary

Brigitta Green from the winter wonderland of Minnesota has a fitting question for us about ice. After a mysterious, late-night howling sound aroused curiosity on the streets of St. Paul last winter, she wants to know how it is that frozen bodies of water produce such eerie noises. Chris Polashenski, Arctic researcher and expert on all things cold, has our answer.

Want more Completely Optional Knowledge? Have a question you’d like to hear answered on the show? Visit us at to subscribe! Don’t forget to tune into the conversation on social media using #CompletelyOptional.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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