RUSSIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES, VOL. 21, ES5001, doi:10.2205/2021ES000763, 2021

Mesoscale vortex over Lake Baikal: A case-study

Shestakova, A. A. and I. A. Repina


This paper presents the results of a case-study of lake-effect circulation over Lake Baikal in December 2012, when the lake surface was still almost free from ice. The most spectacular manifestation of lake effect was a mesoscale vortex over the northern part of the lake. The analysis of this phenomenon is based on satellite observations, in-situ measurements, as well as on mesoscale numerical modeling with the WRF-ARW model. The model reproduced well the time and location of the vortex observed, correctly featuring cloud structures and time course of meteorological parameters near the surface, though it was less accurate reproducing precipitation due to some space shift between observed and simulated landfall location. Sensitivity experiments revealed the role of the warm lake surface and orography in the vortex generation and intensification. Unlike vortices over the American Great Lakes, where orography is small and the main reasons of vortex formation are breeze circulation and diabatic heat fluxes from the surface, considered Baikal vortex was formed primarily due to orography-induced convergence. Orography generated conducive conditions for local winds and breeze circulation and to a large extent formed unstable temperature stratification due to partial blocking of the incoming flow.

Received 16 March 2021; accepted 1 April 2021; published 11 September 2021.

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Citation: Shestakova, A. A. and I. A. Repina (2021), Mesoscale vortex over Lake Baikal: A case-study, Russ. J. Earth Sci., 21, ES5001, doi:10.2205/2021ES000763.