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Global warming affecting world’s largest freshwater lake

By Xinhua,

Washinton : Russian and American scientists have discovered that the temperature of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake located in freezing Siberia, is rising gradually that confirms that the region is responding strongly to global warming.

“Warming of this isolated but enormous lake is a clear signal that climate change has affected even the most remote corners of our planet,” said Stephanie Hampton, a leading member of the research team, in thier study report published Thursday on the online edition of Global Change Biology journal.

“Our research relies on a 60-year data set, collected in Lake Baikal by three generations of a single family of Siberian scientists,” said another leading author Marianne Moore.

The data on Lake Baikal reveals “significant warming of surface waters and long-term changes in the food web of the world’s largest, most ancient lake,” write the researchers in their paper.

Increases in water temperature (1.21 degree Celsius since 1946), chlorophyll A (300 percent since 1979), and an influential group of zooplankton grazers (335 percent since 1946) have important implications for nutrient cycles and food web dynamics.

With its unparalleled biological diversity, Lake Baikal boasts 2,500 plant and animal species, with most found nowhere else in the world. The lake contains 20 percent of the world’s freshwater. It is the world’s deepest lake.

Now, the scientists conclude that the lake joins other large lakes, including Superior, Tanganyika and Tahoe, in showing warming trends.

“But temperature changes in Lake Baikal are particularly significant as a signal of long-term regional warming,” they noted.