TSU employee Bair Tsydenov is working on a complex mathematical model for the study of hydroecological processes in Lake Baikal. The model allows scientists to identify and predict the level of pollution in the lake, as well as to draw conclusions about the quality of the water.
Scientists predict a global water crisis by 2025. Pollution of the world’s fresh water is the leading cause of the depletion of reserves of fresh water. This problem is evident in the example of Baikal: the lake contains about 20% of world reserves of lake fresh water and almost 90% of Russian reserves, while every year more than 20 million cubic meters of wastewater enter it.
It was found that 60% of the pollution in the lake is coming from the Selenga River, in whose basin Russian and Mongolian industrial enterprises are concentrated. Research by the TSU scientist will help to understand how impurities from the Selenga River are spread across the lake. It will allow ecologists to make conclusions about how fast and at what depth the impurities of different concentrations extend.
According to the scientist, the spread of contamination is indirectly affected by changes in temperature, humidity, and wind speed during the day. Furthermore, contamination is carried in the lake differently depending on the time of year.
- Water temperature affects the formation of the flow structure, and hence the transfer of impurities - explained Bair Tsydenov. – Also, for the lakes in the temperate latitudes it is necessary to take into account the phenomenon of thermal bar, which occurs twice a year, due to the spring warming or autumn cooling of the water at the surface, reaching a maximum density, gradually sinking to the bottom, and initiating circulation flows. In this case, surface contamination can go into the deep part.
Now the scientist is working on a comprehensive 2.5D model, which takes into account the rate of water turbidity, in order to obtain data on a specific area of Baikal - at the confluence of the lake with the Selenga River. This research is supported by the grant of the President of the Russian Federation. The results can be the basis for high-precision 3D models with which it will be possible to calculate the circulation of water and impurities in the entire lake.
- Analysis of the distribution of water turbidity allows us to determine successful locations for wastewater treatment plants, as well as to assess their effectiveness, - said Bair Tsydenov. - In addition, in order to predict, it is possible to set the extreme parameters of pollutants in the model to get a visual representation about the possible consequences.
He explained that the calculation of the spread of contamination in the whole lake will require a lot of computing power. With the help of the model developed and the necessary data it will be possible to calculate the circulation of pollution for any other freshwater reservoir.