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Winds, storms and currents

Source:  Lake Baikal: atlas.- Irkutsk, 2005. - P. 59.

The peculiarities of Baikal winds are accounted for the combination of a number of reasons. Huge mass of water influences coastal winds changing their directions with seasonal (monsoons) and daily (breezes) periodicity. It is a certain sign of marine climate. The reason of strong winds over the lake is the interaction of general synoptic processes with mountains surrounding Lake Baikal. The unique variety of Baikal winds is reflected in the great number of local names. It is quite typical that each wind brings along a definite type of weather.

Verkhovik is a dry wind starting in the valley of the Upper Angara River and one of the mightiest and durable winds on Lake Baikal. Far from immediately do the waves come down after this wind and a strong gentle "swell" persists for a long time. Of the same character and direction is Barguzin wind coming impetuously out of the valley of the Barguzin River. The head wind Kultuk is accompanied by dull weather. It is of the same duration and covers the whole area of water.

Gorny is the name for the strongest winds that are the most dangerous for navigation. They are momentary winds reaching hurricane power and speed over 40 m/sec. These winds are characterized by their suddenness, insidiousness, unpredictable force and powerful roughness. The most famous among them are Sarma,   a hurricane wind (up to 40 m/sec and more) in the southern part of Maloye More; Kharakhaikha near the valley of the Goloustnaya River. These winds, momentary in summer, can blow during some days in autumn.

Shelonnik is a rather widely spread wind in Southern Baikal bringing air from Mongolia over the Khamar-Daban Ridge. It is followed by thaw and fair weather.

Baikal is one of the stormiest lakes of the world. The surface of the lake stays calm very rarely. The strongest roughness of the lake is in the Strait of Olkhon Gate, at the entrance to Chivyrkuy Bay where the waves can exceed 4 m high, and at the northern coast of Large Ushkany Island the height of the waves can reach 6 m. Stormy winds usually blow in late summer and autumn.

Currents cover almost the whole water mass. Winds, as well as flows of river, different degree of water heating, drops of atmospheric pressure and water level - all this causes horizontal currents in the water mass of Lake Baikal that do not fade even under the ice in winter. Their maximum velocity in the upper layers can reach tens, seldom 100 cm/s in summer and autumn; in winter 8-11 cm/s. Below 200-400 m currents usually do not exceed 1-3 cm/s, however, in the vicinity of the bottom they become stronger.

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