The biogeochemical dynamics of Si in temperate lakes is well documented and the role of biological uptake and recycling is well known. In this paper we examine the Si dynamics of a series of ice-covered, closed-basin lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valley region (~78° S) of Antarctica. Our data and calculations indicate that biological uptake of Si is not a major process in these lakes. Mass balance considerations in Lake Hoare, the youngest and the freshest lake, suggest that annual stream input during relatively low-flow years is minor and that Si dynamics is greatly influenced by hydrological variation and hence climatic changes affecting stream flow and lake level. The data imply that the Si input during high-flow years must dominate the system. Subtle changes in climate have a major control on Si input into the lake, and Si dynamics are not controlled by biogeochemical processes as in temperate systems.