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Climate Change and Water Temperature of Lake Baikal, Russia

53.1N 107.6E

June 11th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Russia – June 10th, 2013

Lake Baikal, the world’s largest, oldest, and most biotically diverse lake, is responding strongly to climate change, according to recent analyses of water temperature and ice cover. By the end of this century, the climate of the Baikal region will be warmer and wetter, particularly in winter. As the climate changes, ice cover and transparency, water temperature, wind dynamics and mixing, and nutrient levels are the key abiotic variables that will shift, thus eliciting many biotic responses.

Among the abiotic variables, changes in ice cover will quite likely alter food-web structure and function most because of the diverse ways in which ice affects the lake’s dominant primary producers (endemic diatoms), the top predator (the world’s only freshwater seal), and other abiotic variables. Melting permafrost will probably exacerbate the effects of additional anthropogenic stressors (industrial pollution and cultural eutrophication) and could greatly affect ecosystem functioning (click here for more information).

Climate Change Affecting Ice and Food Chain of Lake Baikal, Russia

53.1N 107.6E

May 7th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

Russia – May 7th, 2013

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.


Fires in Russia West of Lake Baikal and North of Lake Khövsgöl

51.1N 100.5E

July 3rd, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes

Russia – June 28th, 2012

Multiple plumes of smoke from wildfires west of Lake Baikal (visible in the full image) can be observed in the upper part of the image. While the plumes blow towards the southeast, a cloud of smoke also spans the image in the shape of a band across the middle. (Click here for previous images of wildfires in Russia). Visible near the bottom edge is Lake Khövsgöl, a fresh water lake that is the largest body of water in Mongolia by volume, and the second largest by area.

Fires Near Lake Baikal, Russia – May 6th, 2012

53.1N 107.6E

May 6th, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes

Fires in Russia - May 6th, 2012


Many wildfires can be observed near Lake Baikal, in Russian Siberia. The main image focuses on the fires by the southern shores of the lake. Thick plumes of smoke from those near the lower extremity of the lake take on an arched shape, while others blow due northward. The close-up focuses on fires to the east of the lake, which are releasing smoke towards the south.

Lake Baikal During the Summer – September 23rd, 2011

53.1N 107.6E

September 23rd, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Russia - September 18th, 2011

Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest lake at 30 million years old and with an average depth of 744.4 metres.

Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. In this image, acquired during the northern hemisphere summer, its waters and the surrounding landscape are not frozen.

At 1,642 metres (5,387 ft), Lake Baikal is the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes in the world. Similarly to Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2/12,248 sq mi, less than that of Lake Superior or Lake Victoria. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.