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(c) A. Kouraev and The Fellowship of the Ice Rings, 2016-2021


Ice conditions - Southern Baikal, 2 February 2021 .


Radar image from Sentinel-1 satellite. Southern Baikal is almost completely covered with snow, but radar sees trough it. White regions - ice with rough surface. Black and dark regions - smooth ice. In such regions ice could be as thick as neighbouring ice fields, but also it could be just recently frozen leads (danger!).

Get this image in higher resolution here

Ice conditions for 27 and 29 January 2021


Image from two Sentinel-2 scenes: left-hand part - 29 January, right-hand part - 29 January 2021. Area marked in red - as compared with radar image from 23 January, here a new lead appeared and ice has moved 150-160 m to the south-west.

Get this image in higher resolution here

Ice conditions for 23 January 2021


Radar image from Sentinel-1 satellite. If snow is not very deep - radar sees trough it. White regions - ice with rough surface. Black and dark regions - smooth ice. In such regions ice could be as thick as neighbouring ice fields, but also it could be just recently frozen leads (danger!).

Area marked in red - region where ice has moved later on (see more recent post).





26 May 2020. People are reading our article.


According to Altmetric data, our 2019 paper in Limnology and Oceanography (L&O) has got attention of online media . It currently holds #1 among all papers published in L&O, and is in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric. Also, according to Wiley, this paper is among the most downloaded L&O papers (#17 of more than 10000).

Of course these results would be impossible without high-quality publications of journalists from NASA (Adam Voiland) , LiveScience (Laura Geggel) and IFLScience (Rachael Funnel), (see "Resources") - thank you very much!

We know that online attention is fleeting and tomorrow another paper will take this place. But still it's good to know that our research is interesting for people and we could make this world more fascinating and, we hope, a bit safer.


End of April 2020. Ice rings in lake Baikal - expected and unexpected


No "classical" ice ring this winter near Nizhneye Izgolovye. There is a dark patch where we found an eddy in February, but it did not develop into a nice-looking ice ring.


On the other hand, an ice ring has appeared in the southern part of lake Baikal, where there were other ice rings in other years.


Ice conditions for 12 April 2020. Cosmonautics Day!
If you are looking for experience on how to live in isolation - learn it from the cosmonauts.



In the beginning of April snow has finally melted and now you may see intricate and complex pattern of different ice fields. No ice rings so far. Dark feature near the Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape - cloud shadow. Landsat 8 image from 12 April 2020.

Get this image in higher resolution here

Ice conditions for 4 March 2020 - new cracks


New cracks (yellow arrows) appeared near Cape Nizhneye Izgolovye and along the coast near Ust'-Barguzin. Landsat 8 image from 4 March 2020.

Get this image in higher resolution here


26 February 2020. An eddy discovered near Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape

During our field works in mid-February 2020 we have again discovered under ice a warm anticyclonic eddy, that usually leads to the formation of the giant ice rings.

Approximate location of eddy and, probably, of the future ice ring. Background - Landsat image from 24 February 2020. Red numbers - ice thickness measured on 18-20 February 2020. Yellow line - one of the existing ice routes between Ust' Barguzin and Ol'khon island. Click on image to enlarge.

Eddy is located 5 km from the Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape. When travelling on the line of direct sight between Nizhneye Izgolovye cape and Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon island there is a high risk of getting into the ring.

P.S. On this image you may also see tracks of "Baikal mile" speed race near Maksimikha (southern end of the Barguzin bay)

Ice conditions on 1 February 2020 - new cracks are appearing


New cracks (red lines) from Landsat image on 1 Feb 2020 overlaid on Landsat 8 image from 23 Jan 2020.

Get this image in higher resolution 30 m. here


31 January 2020: Ice conditions on lake Baikal are very bad.

Despite cold air temperature, snow that fell on ice after ice formation is isolating ice, and in many places over Lake Baikal ice is still very unstable and dangerous. More detaile here (in Russian)



30 January 2020: NASA and Baikal ice rings

NASA's Earth Observatory published "Image of the day" post by
Adam Voiland dedicated to Baikal ice rings




Ice conditions for 23 January 2020


Landsat 8 satellite, visible band (click on image to enlarge).

Get higher (30 m) resolution image here


18 October 2019. Our new paper on giant ice rings and associated eddies under the ice is published in Limnology and Oceanography.

Get pdf (open access) at the journal or our web sites.

7 things you need to know about this paper (short summary):

1). We continue to monitor giant ice rings from satellite imagery. We completed our inventory with some new ice rings and also found very old (as early as 1969) ice rings on Corona images.

2). We have found ice rings on a comletely new lake: Lake Teletskoye in Altai (Russia). This makes it a third lake where ice rings have been observed (together with Baikal and Hovsgol).

3). During our field work in winters 2016 and 2017 in Lake Baikal (region of Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape) we made detailed surveys twice each year - in February and March, and also installed temperature loggers and current meters for 1.5 month between each two surveys.

4). In February 2016 we detected an eddy under ice. This lens-like eddy was similar to the ones we observed earlier and these eddies lead to the formation of giant ice rings. Already by Mid-March ice ring has been formed and was seen on satellite images.

On 16 March an UAZ off-road van fell through the ice in the region of the ice ring (the driver and passengers were rescued). On 18 March 2016 at the eastern boundary of the ice ring another UAZ vehicle broke through the ice, but fortunately got stuck and was recovered next day.

By the end of March 2016 in the same region we found both eddy and a well developed ice ring, with a lot of regions of open water. We experienced first-hand what are the ice conditions in the late stage of ice ring development.


a) UAZ vehicle trapped in ice on the eastern boundary of the ring on 18 March 2016, b) advance on foot on the southern boundary of the ice ring was stopped by large cracks (3 m and more wide) extending for several hundreds of meters (28 March 2016), c) large leads (width 10 m and more) on the eastern boundary (30 March 2016, photo from aeroboat), d) work at the southern boundary of the ice ring (30 March 2016, photo from pole, height 7 m, two very large leads are seen on the top of the image). Click on image to enlarge.

Starting from 2017 we now provide on this web site (see below on this page) near-real time ice conditions and locations of eddies, as well as potential regions of the formation of ice rings.

5). Our field surveys down to 200 m and data from loggers provide new unique data on size and shape of lens-like eddies under ice. Direct and indirect measurements make it possible to estimate rotational period (about 3 days) of the eddy.

6). In February 2017 we detected an eddy, but by the end of March it has moved and was eventually found 6 km away from its initial position. As this eddy moved, it had no time to form an ice ring this year, but using loggers data we are able to estimate its timing of movement, location and speed of displacement.

7). Satellite imagery in the thermal infra-red range for November-December 2015 show that the eddy found in winter 2016, which created later a giant ice ring, was formed by wind-induced outflow of water from the Barguzin bay to the Middle Baikal and that this mechanism is probably typical for most other ice rings in Lake Baikal and in other lakes.


29 April 2019. Two giant ice rings appeared in Lake Baikal


Two ice rings as seen on MODIS Terra images. Click to enlarge.

22 April 2019 an ice ring appeared near Cape Nizhneye Izgolovye, in the region where we previously detected the eddy.
Second ice ring with an elliptical shape appeared 10 April 2019 on the exit from Maloye More.



15 April 2019. The eddy discovered near Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape has moved

During our field works in end of March 2019 we have found that the warm anticyclonic eddy, that usually leads to the formation of the giant ice rings, has moved as compared to February 2019.

Location of eddy and, probably, of the future ice ring. Background - Landsat image from 10 April 2019. Click on image to enlarge.


Eddy has moved by about 6 km as compared to Fenruary. Now it is located in 9 km from the Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape, its radius is about 3 km. When travelling on one of the existing ice roads to Ol'khon or on the line of direct sight between Nizhneye Izgolovye cape and Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon island (see the scheme) there is a high risk of getting into the ring. We recommend to keep the direction to Uzury or (better) to Zhima mountain or more to the south.

Ice conditions for 21 February 2019. Ice ring (see below) is not yet seen.


Landsat 8 image (click to enlarge). Get this image in higher (30m) resolution here


20 February 2019. An eddy discovered near Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape

During our field works in mid-February 2019 we have again discovered under ice a warm anticyclonic eddy, that usually leads to the formation of the giant ice rings.

Location of eddy and, probably, of the future ice ring. Background - Landsat image from 14 February 2019. Click on image to enlarge.


Eddy is located in 5.5 km from the Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape, its radius is about 3.8 km. When travelling on the line of direct sight between Nizhneye Izgolovye cape and Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon island (see the scheme) there is a high risk of getting into the ring. We recommend to keep the direction to Uzury or (better) to Zhima mountain or more to the south.

Ice conditions for 5 February 2019


Near infrared image (click on image to see better).
Thermal image (click on image to see better).
Landsat 8 imagery.

We see cracks as on image from 25 January 2019 and many more. It is better to avoid places where ice has higher temperature (red color on thermal image), ice here is probably less thick.

Get image in higher 30 m resolution here

Ice conditions for 29 January 2019


Near-infrared (click on image to see better)

Thermal image (click on image to see better)
Images from Landsat 8 satellite.

Some cracks (curved line south from Cape Nizhneye Izgolovye, cracks north from Nizhneye Izgolovye and cracks in the left part of the image are not yet completely frozen or covered by thin ice (red color on thermal image). Better to avoid these regions.

Download this image in 30 m resolution here

15 November 2018 . An article is published on ice rings and some our results

Leech Dina M. "Satellites and Sensors Tell us More about the Giant Ice Rings of Siberian Lakes", Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin, 2018, Vol 27 issue 4.

On the cover page of this issue you may see a beautiful photo by Andrey Suknev from the place of our work near Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape



24 April 2018. Numerous ice rings have appeared!


Since several days at least three giant ice rings have appeared:
1 - region of the Cape Nizhneye Izgolovye (exactly where we have observed eddy in February and March, see white circle), ring is not yet fully developed,
2 - region south from the Ol'khonskiye Vorota strait,
3 - near Posol'skiy Sor.
Regions 2 and 3 are unusual, so far there were no ice rings detected in these regions (see map in the Section "On rings").


Coordinates of the rings' centers:
Region 1: 108.375N, 53.5153E, diameter: 6 km
Region 2: 106.8408N, 52.8127E, diameter 8 km
Region 3: 105.96546N, 51.9264E, diameter 5.6 km


Ice conditions from 22 March 2018. No ice ring so far


Landsat image of ice conditions for the Central part of Lake Baikal.

Download this image in 15 m resolution here (1.5 Mb)

8 March 2018. Ice ring will probably soon appear. Ice conditions for 6 March 2018.

Anomally warm ice in the region of eddy that was detected earlier.

In the region, where we have found an eddy in mid-February, a high ice temperature is observed. Thermal Landsat image from 6 March 2018. Circle on image - initial position of the eddy (see scheme below)


Ice condition in the Central Baikal Landsat image from 6 March 2018.

You may download higher resolution (30 m) image here (2 )

22 February 2018. An eddy discovered near Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape

During our field works in mid-February 2018 we have discovered under ice a warm anticyclonic eddy, that usually leads to the formation of the giant ice rings.

Location of eddy and, probably, of the future ice ring. Background - Landsat image from 11 February 2018.

Download this scheme in higher resolution here (1 b)

Eddy is located in 5.8 km from the Nizhneye Izgolovye Cape, its radius is 3.4 km. When travelling on the line of direct sight between Nizhneye Izgolovye cape and Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon island (see the scheme) there is a high risk of getting into the ring. We recommend to keep the direction to Uzury or (better) to Zhima mountain or more to the south.

11 February 2018. Ice conditions

Landsat image of the Middle Baikal from 11 February 2018.

Download this image with resolution of 30 m (0.5 Mb) , as well as in kmz (for GPS) (2.0 Mb) format

2 February 2018. Ice conditions

Landsat image of the Middle Baikal from 2 February 2018.
White areas - clouds, snow-covered or hummocked ice. Dark areas - clean ice.
Download this image with resolution of 30 m (0.6 Mb) , as well as in kmz (for GPS) (2.1 Mb) format

26 January 2018. Ice conditions
Ice cover is mostly stable.

Landsat image of the Middle Baikal from 26 January 2018.
White areas - clouds, snow-covered or hummocked ice. Dark areas - clean ice.
Download this image with resolution of 15 m (1.2 Mb) , as well as in kmz ( GPS) (5.4 Mb) format

Many frozen leads are still not very thick, they are seen as red on the thermal image.
Landsat thermal image of the Middle Baikal from 26 January 2018.
Blue - cold (clouds, snow, thick ice), red - warm (thin ice, recently frozen leads)

6 December 2017. Web site is now in two languages - russian and english

End of winter 2017. Ice ring did not manifest on satellite images. Probably it is related to the continuous movement of the eddy


11 April 2017. Eddy has moved! New potential location of ice ring in 2017

Our new field data show that the eddy has moved by 6 km towards the Ol'khon island.

Location of eddy in end of March (red circle) and in mid-February (blue line) and line of direct sight between Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon and Cape Nizhnee Izgolovye (red line). Background image - Landsat, 15 February 2017.


Eddy (and probably future ice ring) is now located 18.5 km from Nizhnee Izgolovye Cape


Eddy new location as kmz (Google Earth) and GPX (GPS) formats

1 March 2017. Potential location of ice ring in 2017

According to our field measurements in mid-February 2017, we have discovered an underwater eddy, similar to the ones that lead to the formation of giant ice rings

Location of eddy (red circle), one of the existing ice routes between Ust'-Barguzin and Ol'khon island (blue line) and line of direct sight between Cape Khoboy on Ol'khon and Cape Nizhnee Izgolovye (red line). Background image - Landsat, 15 February 2017.


If the eddy will lead to the formation of a giant ice ring, so when using line of direct sight between Nizhnee Izgolovye and Khoboy you will have a 100% garanty to find yourself in the region with dangerous ice cover. We advise to avoid such a route!


Eddy (and probably future ice ring) is located 8.5 km from Nizhnee Izgolovye Cape and 5.5 km north from one of the existing routes to Ol'khon.

Eddy location as kmz (Google Earth) and GPX (GPS) formats

23 January 2017. Ice conditions
Ice cover is almost stable, but in many places there are cracks and areas with thin ice. In the southern part ice is still moving

Landsat image of the Middle Baikal from 23 January 2017.
White areas - snow-covered or hummocked ice. Dark areas - clean ice.
Download this image with resolution of 30 m (2.5 Mb) and 15 m (6.5 Mb), as well as in kmz ( GPS) (4.2 Mb) format