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Recreation center Solnechnaya

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world with an average depth of 744.4 m (2,442 ft) and contains about 20 percent of the world´s surface fresh water. The Lake is also known as the “Baikal Sea” and the "Pearl of Siberia". At 1,642 meters (5,390 ft) Lake Baikal is the deepest, and among the clearest lakes in the world. Baikal is more than  25 million years old, and it is also the world´s oldest lake. No other lake can be compared with Lake Baikal in age, reserves and properties of water

Lake Baikal Olkhon island cape Khoboy

     Lake Baikal in summer                                           Cape Khoboy

Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, the most part of which are endemics and can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also the native land of Buryat people who follow the Shamanism and they still make ceremonies to local spirits. 

Lake Baikal is beautiful any time of the year. There are many interesting places where you can travel: Olkhon island, Listvyanka, Chivyrkuiski gulf, Severobaikalsk and many others. Everywhere you can see real wild nature and magnificent lake. 

Lake Baikal is really amazing and mysterious place that has strong energetic.  Visit to Baikal and feel it yourself. 

Origin of the name

There are many versions about the origin of the word «Baikal». Many different nations lived around Lake Baikal and each nation called the lake differently.

For example, the Evenk called it Lamu (“sea”) , the Chinese had a name for Baikal - Beihai - Northern lake, the Mongols – Tenghis or Tenghis-dalai. the Buryats – Baigaal-Dalai ("big lake")

After the first expedition to the lake in 1643 headed by Kurbat Ivanov, the Russians began to use the Buryat name Baigaal or Baigaal-Dalai. However, they changed the letter "g" specific to the Buryat language to a more Russian-like "k", which created the word "Baikal". The name Baigal was first mentioned in the Mongolian chronicle of the beginning of the 17th century called "Shara Tudzhi" (Yellow chronicle). 
Baikal is quite often called a sea, simply out of respect, because of its turbulent spirit, or because its far shore is often hidden in mists...

Baikal's water

Baikal is the cleanest natural reserve of fresh water in the world. The Baikal water has a small amount of organic impurities, and it's rich with oxygen. Tasty water usually contains not less than 8mg of oxygen in a liter; the Baikal water has 10-12mg of oxygen in a liter. In spring the transparency of the lake's water, as measured by a Sekki disc (a white disc, 30 cm diameter), is 40 metres (for comparison, in the Sargasso Sea, which is considered to be the standard of transparency, there is a transparency of 65 metres). The volume of the lake's water is some 23 thousand cubic kilometres, which is 20% of the world's and 90% of Russia's freshwater resources. Each year Baikal's ecosystem produces some 60 cubic kilometres of clear, richly oxygenated water.
The Baikal water is cold. The warmest temperature of the lake is in the middle of August: 8-10C (46-50F). The Chivyrkuysky Bay, the Proval Bay and the Small Sea area have the warmest temperature of 18-22C (64-71F). 
As scientists say, a drop of water from Baikal tributaries stays in Baikal for many years. For the northern depression of Baikal it takes 225 years to make an exchange between different waters. 
In spring when the lake is freed of ice, the transparency of the water reaches 40m.

Climate at Lake Baikal

The climate of East Siberia is acutely continental, but the enormous mass of water in Baikal and its mountainous surroundings create an unusual microclimate. Baikal acts like a large thermo-stabilizer - in winter it's warmer at Baikal, and in summer cooler, for example, than in Irkutsk, some 70 km away from the lake. The difference in temperature is usually around 10 degrees.

Baikal's influence is not limited to temperature regulation. Because of the fact that there is very insignificant evaporation from the cold surface waters, clouds cannot form above the lake. Also, the air masses bringing clouds from the land, become warmer when tumbling over the coastal mountains and disperse. As a result, the sky over the lake is more often than not clear. This is confirmed by statistics: in the Olkhon area, there are some 2277 hours of sunshine a year (for comparison, the coast near Riga has 1839, and Abastumani in the Caucasus - 1994). Of course, one shouldn't imagine that the sun is always shining over the lake, if you are not lucky, you can find yourself in one, and even two weeks of dreadfully rainy weather even in the sunniest place at Baikal - Olkhon, but that is very rare.

The average annual temperature of the water at the surface of the lake is +4°C. Near the shore in summer it can reach +16°-17°C, and in the shallows of inlets+22°-23°C.

Though the very northern extremity of Lake Baikal lies at the same latitude as Moscow the climate here is much more severe then in European part of Russia. The climate of Eastern Siberia is one of the most continental on the Earth with the great seasonal and day-to-night changes. 

The frost free period lasts from 75 to 82 days only. The amount of precipitation in various parts of the lake is different. Largely they fall in the southern extremity of the lake. Warm air masses coming from the south-west abruptly become cold over the surface and yield precipitations of 495 mm (19.5 in) at the very southern part of the lake near the city of Baikalsk. The significant portion of annual precipitations falls during the warm season. Irkutsk has 458 mm of precipitations per year. 

In winter average temperature  –21 degrees Celsius (-5.8 Fahrenheit) and experiences minimum temperatures as low as –40 Celsius (-40 Fahrenheit). 

Summers are short with average temperature +25 C (+63.5 F, +68 F). Individual days are quite warm so temperature might reach +30, +35 C (+86, +95 F) and stay like this for two or three weeks in mid-July and early August. Few people know that there are more sunny days at Lake Baikal than at Russia’s Black Sea resorts. At the lake, the annual amount of sunshine is 2,583 hours while in Sochi at the Black sea it is 2,007 hours. The sunniest place at Lake Baikal is Olkhon island.



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