Armenia: Lake Sevan freezing over, birds dwelling around are endangered
This year’s cold winter has had its impact on the Sevan Lake-it started freezing over. At first, the beauty of this phenomenon caused mass media’s interest, but lengthy and wide-scale freezing also triggered the need for finding out possible consequences and risks of the aforesaid.
Artak Sargsyan, an inspector at Sevan National Park protection unit, claims that freezing of Sevan Lake endangers the birds dwelling there. The species that usually winter there have had to seek the warmer climate, whereas those that failed to fly away have died.
Lake icing makes it hard for them to get food and therefore birds are either leaving the area or die of hunger. This, in turn, may pose serious problems to the species diversity, since birds may leave the territory of Armenia forever.
As Silva Adamyan, an expert at Armenian Civil Voice organization, told Tert.am news agency, there are two possible solutions to the aforesaid problem: to make ice holes using special equipment, so that birds can obtain food; or the environmentalists and zoologists should themselves start feeding them.
According to the Armenian Emergency Situations Ministry, the Sevan Lake’s temperature regime has considerably changes as a result of a drop in water level. Heat storage has reduced, resulting in the lake freezing over. Since 1948, the lake has been freezing over once in 7 years. In 2017, the Big Sevan has been fully covered in ice since February 3, whereas the Small Sevan has been partially frozen over (80-90%). The ice layer thickness makes 10-15cm.
As the agency noted, freezing has both, positive and negative effect on the Lake. The positive effect is that evaporation in this case slows to a stop. In the beginning of February it made 1,1million cub.m. per day. The negative effect is that the ice cover reduces concentration of the oxygen in water.