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Scientists: Shallowing of Lake Baikal is Caused by Climate Upheaval in Asia
October 26, 2015 10:48

Lake Baikal

Water-level decline in Baikal is connected to climatic shifts in Asia that is facing considerable decrease in rainfall and increase in air temperature. Such results were presented by scientists of the Pacific Oceanology Institute of the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences at the recent scientific conference in Vladivostok.

"The current climate in the Pacific Rim is characterized by drastic  summer warming, reduction of the summer and annual precipitation in the continental regions of Asia of midlatitudes, including the eastern and central Siberia, near Lake Baikal", - the scientists explained.

They emphasized that "considerable reduction in atmospheric precipitation in a few last years in the Baikal area, Mongolia and Buryatia along with anthropogenous effects have brought about extreme reduction of the flow of River Selenga into Lake Baikal, the fact causing decline in level of this unique lake". This river gives up to 50 percent of water inflow to Baikal.

The situation was aggravated even more this summer due to forest fires covering a large area in Buryatia. Those massive fires added to abnormally high air temperature in the region and led to significant increase in evaporation in the pool of Selenga reservoir. Economic activities in the territory of Mongolia reduce water level in the river even more.

Scientists relate the change of rainfall and temperature in the Baikal Lake to global climatic shifts. The analysis of atmospheric pressure since the 1970s showed its compression both in winter, and summer periods over the entire area of Lake Baikal with the maximum in the territory of Mongolia, including a considerable part of the Selenga river basin, which leads to rainfall reduction and air temperature rise.

The drawdown in the world's deepest lake started in the autumn of last year and lasted till the end of April. At that point the water level fell to the mark of 455,86 meters, which is 14 cm lower than the bottom value set for the lake by the resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation. Later the level somewhat increased, but is still at the low value of about 456 meters. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, the inflow of water to Lake Baikal also remains at a low level and made only 42-67 per cent of norm in the third quarter of the year.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Baikal Climatic Change Buryatia Siberia Vladivostok 

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