Lake Baikal shallowing requires careful attention
Researchers from the Moscow State University (MSU) came to the conclusion that owners of existing and planned hydropower plants (HPP) need to adjust their policies to avoid changes in the ecological system of Lake Baikal.
The shallowing of the large Selenga River, which provides about half of the annual flow of water to Baikal began in 1996. According to research, it is caused by a sharp reduction in rainfall in the river basin and tributaries in the summer. The researchers used information on the state of the river accumulated since the 1930s, and modern data from space probes. The river has internal cycles. The water level rises during 12-17 years, the decrease — within 7 years. The current shallowing is a record.
«It is necessary to specify the operating mode of the Angarsk hydroelectric power plants, regulating the flow of water from Baikal since 1963. Moreover, the need for research is related to the plans of the Mongolian government for the HPP construction on Selenga and its tributaries. Current changes in water balance can lead to adverse environmental effects», — said Natalya Frolova, one of the researchers.
The results are published in Regional environmental change.
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