Lake Hazen, the High Arctic's largest lake, has received an approximately 10-fold increase in glacial meltwater since its catchment glaciers shifted from net mass gain to net mass loss in 2007 common era (CE), concurrent with recent warming. Increased glacial meltwater can alter the ecological functioning of recipient aquatic ecosystems via changes to nutrient budgets, turbidity and thermal regimes. Here, we examine a rare set of five high-resolution sediment cores collected in Lake Hazen between 1990 and 2017 CE to investigate the influence of increased glacial meltwater versus alterations to lake ice phenology on ecological change. Subfossil diatom assemblages in all cores show two major shifts over the past approximately 200 years including: (i) a proliferation of pioneering, benthic taxa at approximately 1900 CE from previously depauperate populations; and (ii) a rise in planktonic taxa beginning at approximately 1980 CE to present-day dominance. The topmost intervals from each sequentially collected core provide exact dates and demonstrate that diatom regime shifts occurred decades prior to accelerated glacial inputs. These data show that diatom assemblages in Lake Hazen are responding primarily to intrinsic lake factors linked to decreasing duration of lake ice and snow cover rather than to limnological impacts associated with increased glacial runoff.