Ice Began to Form On Baikal Lake

In the north and east of Lake Baikal ice cover began to form. Each year this process is different. It depends on weather conditions, not only from the timing and the rate of reservoir freezing, but also from such characteristics as transparency of ice, its thickness and the type of fracture.

The main factors are air temperature, amount of snowfall, direction and wind speed. So, at -20 ° C it is formed from 4 to 5 cm of ice per day.

Baikal is usually covered with a layer of ice till January. Only the long stretch of a 10-15 km in the beginning of Angara River does not freeze. Read more

Transformis Inspire expandable houseboat spends the night on land or water

A few weeks too late to be considered for our 2015 best caravans or water toys lists but an early candidate for next year, the Transformis Inspire is an interesting twist on the trailerable houseboat. It borrows from several other innovative products, including expandable boats and slide-out camper modules, to provide a comfortable land/water living space for touring the world by highway and waterway.

A German-born Australian transplant, Claudia Moffat is well aware of the wanderlust that comes with living in a new, exotic piece of the world. She helped satisfy her own wanderlust back in 2007, when she took a nine-month motorhome tour around Australia with her four-year-old son.

“On the road, we saw many rigs and realized that everyone wants to have a car, a house and a boat,” Moffat recalls. “I did see trailerable houseboats, but the biggest issue was weight and, with that, a limited amount of towing vehicles available. Also, they seem very small inside.” Read more

White and Fluffy: 5 Facts about the Snow

Hard to believe, but a huge number of people on the planet, have never seen the snow. And for us, no blizzards, drifting snow and a mild winter is not winter at all. The snow never ceases to surprise us, inspires records and sets challenging tasks, and this is what our next Water-gallery is about.

1. How to make a snowman with the size of a high-rise building? When the frost recedes and the snow becomes sticky, many of us wake up a sculptor inside. But not everyone can become world famous like the residents of the city of Bethel (Maine, USA). In 2008 they built the biggest snowman in the world, with a height of 36.6 meters. Skating snowballs here was not enough – hard work on this construction site was needed to fill formworks with snow and to tamp each floor. The giant snowman took 6 thousand tons of snow in total. Lips of tires, Christmas tree hands, eyelashes of skis, 40-foot scarf and a 23-pound pendant in the form of snowflake, and voila, she is ready! She was named Olympia in honor of a state Senator. This legendary monument melted only in July, seven months after the gala opening. Read more

Water Wives: Men in India Marry Extra Women to Fetch Them Water

Parched regions of India depend on women who take on the time-consuming, inconvenient task of obtaining and carrying water

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In India, monsoons aren’t just a weather system — they’re a lifeline, especially in areas without access to water. As drought threatens the country again this year, Reuters’ Danish Siddiqui looks at how water shortages affect villagers in one parched area of the country: an area in which safe drinking water is so scarce that men take on additional “water wives” to fetch it. Read more

Atlas maps benefit ocean ecosystems

A report mapping the benefits of ocean ecosystems aims to assist governments and businesses in making informed decisions when using marine and coastal resources.

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The Atlas of Ocean Wealth, published last week, compiles data and qualitative information on the benefits of coral reefs, marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows and oyster reefs. It finds that fish catches are declining, ocean temperatures are warming, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events are threatening coastal habitats. Read more