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California | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense | Front Page

Mon Aug 19 2013
Climate Change Impacts Lake Tahoe Basin
Mon Aug 19 2013
Annual State of the Lake Report Shows Lake Tahoe Level is Decreasing
Long-term trends show that climate change is impacting the Lake Tahoe Basin with drier years, less precipitation, higher lake temperatures and projected lower lake levels. These conclusions are found within the 2013 Tahoe State of the Lake Report released on August 7 by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.

2012 was a dry year for Lake Tahoe, with precipitation 71 percent of the long-term average. While 2012 was not considered an unusual weather year at Lake Tahoe, consequences of climate change could be seen. Annual average surface temperature was 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded for Lake Tahoe. Snow has decreased as a fraction of total precipitation, from an average of 51 percent in 1910 to 36 percent in 2012. A continued long-term trend of fewer days with below-freezing temperatures caused snow melt to peak on May 4, earlier than historical conditions. Lake level experienced a net loss in 2012.

UC Davis researchers have been continuously monitoring Lake Tahoe's clarity, physics, chemistry and biology since 1968. This long-term data set helps inform and measure progress toward Tahoe's restoration goals. In addition to clarity, algae and weather data, this year's report describes new research that assesses the impact of 21st century climate change trends on the lake; uses an autonomous, underwater glider to examine water quality across the lake; and measures not just clarity, but the quantifiable "blueness" of Lake Tahoe along the color spectrum.

imc_pdf.gifRead More with a PDF of the Report