Baikal World - information about winds and waves of Baikal lake and Baikal region
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Explanation of the local terms and geographical names at lake Baikal
Winds and Waves of Baikal

winds of Baikal
Lake Baikal winds
Especially remarkable about the Lake Baikal region are shifting winds, monsoons and breezes. It is a certain sign of a maritime climate. And as such, the huge mass of water exerts a serious influence on the surrounding environment and gives rise to a complex local wind system. The exceptional variety of the Baikal winds is reflected in the great number of names for them. Many local signs are connected with the winds. It should be noted that each wind brings along a definite type of weather.

"Verkhovik" is a dry wind starting in the Verkhnyaya (Superior) Angara River valley, and is one of the mightiest and durable winds on Baikal. Verkhovik is a north and north-east wind, blows over the whole lake, usually in spring and summer. Its speed can reach 18 - 20 m/sec. Far from immediately do the waves calm down after this wind and a strong gentle swell persists for a long time.

"Gorny" (Gora, Gornaya, Gornyak, Kharakhaikha) - these are the names for the strongest mountain wind that is the most dangerous for navigation. It blows along the western shores of the lake, from the west and north west, and from the mountainous peaks of the Primorsky and Baikalsky ranges. They are momentary winds reaching hurricane power and speed of more than 40 m/sec. Suddenness, insidiousness, unpredictability of force and powerful roughness are characteristics of these winds.

"Sarma", in the Olkhon region, is particularly strong. Its gusts are so strong that they can lift roofs off houses, and turn boats and launches over. In these gusts the wind speed can reach 40 m/sec. Waves whipped up by this wind can be as high as 2 - 3 metres and in the centre of the lake up to 5.5 metres.

"Shelonnik" (Selenga) comes from the south east. In summer its speed is moderate, up to 10 m/sec., and stronger in autumn, up to 20 m/sec. It reaches its maximum speed at the mouth of the Selenga and quickly weakens in Baikal's southern basin. Only seldom does it raise storms in this southern part with waves of more than 2 metres. Shelonnik brings air from Mongolia over the Khamar-Daban Range. It is followed by thaw and clear weather.

"Barguzin" blows from the north east down the valley of the Barguzin. Typically this is an autumn and winter wind. In the open sea, it reaches a speed of 18 - 20 m/sec. Storms brought about by the Barguzin whip up waves of 3.5 - 4 metres along the western coast of the lake in the region of Olkhon and Goloustnaya.

"Kultuk" (nizovik) blows from the south west along the entire length of the lake. The speed of this wind can get up to 18 - 20 m/sec. When this wind is blowing, the whole lake is disturbed, the height of the waves is usually not less than two metres. In the zone where the wind's speed is the highest, the waves can be more than 3 metres height. The waves caused by the Kultuk take a long time to settle down.

The most well known winds on Baikal are Barguzin, Kultuk and Sarma. In no time, they come impetuously from the river valleys and can make much turmoil on the lake. The Baikal fisherman will hardly say: "Hey, Barguzin, do stir up the billow", as the folksong sings.

Maximum wind velocity (Sarma River Valley) - up to 50 m/s

winds of Baikal
Lake Baikal winds
June - July: calm (the waves are less than 0,5 m) - 80%
From August 15 to September: summer storms, waves are up to 1.5 m high - 80% of all summer storms
The waves higher than 2 m - 17%
The waves higher than 3 m - 3%
In autumn the waves can reach - 5 m high (rare)

Winds' activity:
The cross-lake winds are of NW, ESE (up to 40 m/sec.) direction (estimated wave height - 5.5 m, period 6.5 sec.) = 50 - 90 km
Along-lake winds (NE, SW direction) = 400 - 600 km

recurrence > 30%
centers of excitation from 100 - 200 km
wave height up to 4 - 5 m
duration of activity = 15 - 20 hours

Wind effected phenomena
3 wind effected ebbs and 3 - 4 wind induced surges per month, 24 and 37 for a year respectively

Tides (Kultuk village region)
period: 12 hours
height: 1 - 2 cm

Wind current velocity near the surface - up to 1.4 m/s
Velocity of circulating currents at the depths of
50 m - 56 cm/s
250 m - 30 cm/s
675 m - 12 cm/s
1000 m - 8 cm/s
1200 m - 6 cm/s
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