Tatiana Baksheeva, Irkutsk City, Lake Baikal, Eastern Siberia, Russia

Hi there! My name is Tatiana Baksheeva. I am based in Irkutsk City, Eastern Siberia, Russia.

My mission is pretty simple. If you failed to find the information about Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, and its area, that you had been seeking for a long time on the web, feel free to request it from me via the contact form.

To ask a local is much easier!..

Ask Russia Movement

Ask Russia

How huge Baikal waves are?

I’ve been recently asked if strong winds ever whip up giant waves on Lake Baikal and where on the lake would large waves be most likely to form.

As in any lake, waves in Lake Baikal arise from the effects of wind on water, on the difference of atmospheric pressure on different parts of the valley, from earthquakes, from the tides, from undersea volcanic eruptions, from the vessels motion and other external forces.

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by http://baikali.ya.ru/

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by http://baikali.ya.ru/

Lake Baikal waves. Photo by http://baikali.ya.ru/

Waves on Lake Baikal may reach a height of 4 meters. Sometimes they evaluated as 5 and even 6 meters, but it is most likely an estimation “by eye”, which has a large error. Height of 4 meters obtained by instrumental measurements on the high seas. The waves are usually strong in autumn and spring, and even in winter before lake freezes. In the summer on Lake Baikal strong waves and storms are rare.

Waves at summer time. Photo courtesy Yaroslav Vityazev

Waves in October. Photo courtesy R.Sinitsina

Waves in January. Photo by http://baikali.ya.ru/

There are winds that blow along the valley, and also transverse winds, that associated with the atmospheric general circulation – transit and local. There are several strongest winds at Lake Baikal:
  • north-western wind - Gorny (Mountain wind);
  • Barguzin, or north-eastern;
  • then Verkhovik (in the northern part of the lake it’s also so-called Angara);
  • Kultuk, or south-western;
  • Shelonnik, or south-eastern wind;
  • and Sarma, north-west wind in the area, opposite the mouth of the Sarma river.
Almost every wind may cause strong waves, but the most severe is Mountain wind. It’s associated with largest disasters at Lake Baikal and is very dangerous for navigation, especially in the middle of the lake. In 2009 during the storm a ship was thrown to the coast, none of the four crew members were injured.

4 comments to How huge Baikal waves are?

  • Barry Crump

    Thanks for the information. More people are surfing waves in lakes now and I guessed that such a large lake like Baikal must have some large ridable surf. These photos are enough to show it is possible. Have you ever seen anybody surf these waves?

  • Tatiana

    Hello, Barry, thank you for your question! Laka Baikal water temperature is quite cold even during summer months – about 18-20C, so I have never seen people surfing at Baikal. And one more thing – wind is very unpredictable.

  • Steve

    Great pics, Tatiana! Thank you for the information! I too was wondering about surfing on Lake Baikal. I live near and surf on Lake Superior. Our ‘great lake’ also has water temps that stay very cold all year but that doesn’t stop dedicated surfers. A good wetsuit can keep you surprisingly warm in cold water. Lake Superior does not usually get above 10C, even in summer….and we mostly surf it in the winter! I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before you see someone surfing on Lake Baikal.

  • Josh Hug

    I’ll note that even 18 celsius is actually pretty warm for surfing. In San Francisco, the normal water temperature is ~10 celsius.

    In the midwestern US, people surf when the water temperatures are only 3 or 4 degrees celsius:

    Here’s a well narrated video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYvnQ7dTn_8
    And here are some especially good waves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sMWoG0llYo

    Surfing culture, obviously, is not very big in inner Siberia, but I bet there’s a decent surfing day on the lake from time to time. All it would take is a little motivation and a surfboard.

Follow me

Categories

Related Posts

    None Found