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Thu Aug 8, 2019, 10:21 PM

Report on Lake Tahoe "It is changing"

News for Nevada County, California
It is changing’
Environment | August 8, 2019

Justin Scacco
Special to The Union

...“We all love Tahoe,” said Schladow, director of the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. “Tahoe’s beautiful. It’s like no other place on earth, but it is changing....During the past 107 years, daily air temperatures measured in Tahoe City have increased. The average daily maximum temperature has risen by 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average daily minimum temperature has risen by 4.43 degrees. According to the report, the number of days when air temperatures averaged below freezing has declined by about 30 days since 1911, though year-to-year variability is high.

Furthermore, rising temperatures are forecast to change the Tahoe area from a snow-based hydrology to a rain-based hydrology by the final third of the century, moving the time of peak streamflows from June to January.

“When you suddenly don’t have a snowpack storing water, you’re getting rain reaching the stream much sooner, much higher flows, potential for more erosion, potential for bridges to be washed out, and we as engineers can deal with that,” said Schladow. “Think, however, if you’re a fish and your time of year for spawning is when those flows are happening … used to happen in June, now it happens in January. I wish I could tell you what that means.”

While Schladow painted a grim picture for the future of the area as the climate warms, he indicated there is hope to protect the lake’s clarity against warming temperatures. “We cannot keep the lake cooler,” he said. “We cannot stop snow from turning into rain, but maybe we can maintain clarity in the face of all these things.”


A study referenced in the article found, that if we do nothing about climate change, average maximum temperatures would rise by 9 degrees Fahrenheit in the basin by the end of the century.

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