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Freezing on Lake Alakol.

Nature of Zhetysu region.

“The land moved to the place of the sea and the sea to the place of land in ancient times..., only the elite can delve into these phenomena”

Abu Reyhan Mohammed ibn Ahmed al-Biruni. Khorezm, 973. - Ghazna, 1048.

Lakes of Zhetysu region.

Drainless, salty lake Alakol is located at an altitude of 347.7 meters above sea level, stretched from northwest to southeast, located in the east of Zhetysu and southwest of East Kazakhstan regions. Freezing in the shallow northwestern part of Lake Alakol occurs in the second or third decade of November, in the deep southwestern part (near the village of Koktuma) - in late December - early January.
So, in the winter of 1958 - 1959. this happened on November 17 and January 6, respectively, in 1960-1961. - November 22 and December 23 (Kurdin, 1965). The western part of the lake during the last 10 years usually froze in the third decade of December, however, in the early winter of 1997, the freeze-up occurred on November 17th.
In some years, the southwestern part freezes only in late January - early February, and during the winter large polynyas remain here (in warm winters, the entire southern corner of the lake remains open), on which whooper swans, large mergansers, goldeneyes, crested ducks hibernate , mallards and other birds.
The duration of freeze-up is about 90 days. Ice thickness in warm winters is 15 - 30 cm, in cold winters - 35-65 cm, but cases of more significant freezing are known. As a result of frequent ice breaking by storm winds, the frozen surface in most of Alakol is usually covered with hummocks up to 2 - 3 meters high, and huge blockages of broken ice form along the coast in the zone of strong surf.
Due to strong winds, snow from the ice is constantly blown away to the coast during the winter. The break-up begins in the third decade of March - the first decade of April (on average, March 27) from the side of the Kishi-Alakol Bay, while the ice is broken and destroyed by strong winds towards the northern coast.
In the second or third decade of April, ice drifts across the entire water area of the lake, moving in directions where the prevailing winds blow. Complete clearing of ice in different years occurs between April 1 - May 15, mainly in the third decade of April (Beilinson, 1965; Kurdin, 1965; Trifonova, 1965).
The greatest heating of water in the lake (+26 C) occurs in the second half of July - the first ten days of August.
Geographic coordinates of Lake Alakol: N46°09'40 E81°41'04

Berezovikov Nikolay Nikolaevich, Cand.Biol.Sci.

Photos by:
 Alexander Petrov.