World's Largest Lake Sheds Light on Ecosystem Responses to Climate Variability
Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest, deepest, and largest freshwater lake, has provided scientists with insight into the ways that climate change affects water temperature and, in turn, life in the lake.
“Lake Baikal has the greatest biodiversity of any lake in the world,” explained Stephanie Hampton, deputy director of UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS). “And, thanks to the dedication of three generations of a family of Russian scientists, we have remarkable data on climate and lake temperature.”
Co-author Lyubov Izmest’eva at Irkutsk State University and first author Steve Katz, of NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, explained that the research team discovered many climate variability signals in the data. For example, changes in Lake Baikal water temperature correlate with monthly variability in El Niño indices, reflecting sea surface temperatures over the Pacific Ocean tens of thousands of kilometers away.