Siberia’s Lake Baikal (bottom left), the world’s largest and most biologically diverse lake, faces the prospect of severe ecological disruption as a result of climate change. Scientists have reported that the most pressing threat comes from the dependence of the lake’s food chain on microscopic algae.
Lake Baikal’s algae are particularly vulnerable to expected reductions in the length of time the lake is frozen each winter. However, the lake’s climate has become measurably milder over recent decades, and that annual precipitation is expected to increase. The average ice depth in the lake is believed to have decreased in recent decades, and the ice-free season to have increased. Changes in the lake’s food-chain composition have also been noted.