Lake Baikal, in southern Siberia, is the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake and, due to its age and isolation, is exceptionally biodiverse — but this remarkable ecosystem is under threat from global warming. In this excerpt from Our Ancient Lakes: A Natural History (MIT Press, 2023), Jeffrey McKinnon examines the regime shift that is now taking place at the lake. 

As the largest and deepest of freshwater lakes, with a vast volume comprising 20% of the planet’s liquid fresh water, one might expect Lake Baikal to be resistant to change. Thus, there was a good deal of interest when comprehensive analyses began to appear in the 2000s of the 60-year data sets collected by Mikhail Kozhov, Olga Kozhova and Lyubov Izmest’eva

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