Heat balance of Lake Baikal and the relationship of its ice-thermal and water regime with global atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere during the modern period

  • Shimaraev M.N. 1
  • Sinyukovich V.N. 1
  • Sizova L.N. 1
  • Troitskaya E.S. 1
  • 1 Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Batorskaya Str., 3, Irkutsk, 664033, Russia
Keywords: Baikal, water-atmosphere heat fluxes, evaporation, intrusions and renewal of nearbottom waters, atmosphere circulation, hydrological processes


The article presents a summary of the most important results obtained during the studies of the heat balance at Lake Baikal since the 1930s. The systematic regime measurements of water temperature initiated in Limnological Institute since 1970 indicated the features of the spatial structure and temporal changes in the elements of the Baikal heat balance. We have determined the magnitude of the annual evaporation from the surface of Lake Baikal by the independent method considering the data on temperature of the water column.

We have investigated one of the main renewal processes of deep and near-bottom Baikal waters associated with thermobaric effect. As a result of this effect, the water renewal and aeration in the near-bottom layer annually occurs under certain hydrological conditions. We have determined the vertical flows of mass, heat and gas exchange of the upper and deep layers in Lake Baikal. We have studied the effect of changes in the characteristics (indices) of the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere on the variability of the characteristics of climate and ice-thermal regime at Baikal, i.e. air temperature and water surface temperature, ice thickness, as well as dates of ice phenomena during the modern period. Anomalies of the atmospheric circulation are most obvious in the ice processes. We have found the relationship between the water temperature of the warm (May-September) period and the indicators of the zonal circulation (positive relationship), as well as indices of the formations blocking the western transfer (negative relationship). There is an obvious effect on the water surface temperature of the winter circulation indices. We have shown that these changes are associated with the fluctuations in the intensity of the zonal circulation and the baric formations blocking them. There is the effect of circulation on the moisture characteristics (precipitation and runoff), but it is complicated by large differences in climate within the Baikal catchment area.