Report: Lake Tahoe is warming 14 times faster than average | SierraSun.com

Report: Lake Tahoe is warming 14 times faster than average

The University of California, Davis, Tahoe Environmental Research Center released its annual State of the Lake report evaluating the health of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding landscape on July 27.

The report highlights the severity of the ever-increasing number of dead and dying trees near Lake Tahoe, the impacts of climate change on the lake's temperature and the relationship between boating, algae growth and the introduction of invasive species.

"The year 2016 answered some outstanding questions, but posed as many new ones," said Dr. Geoffrey Schladow, the center's director, in a statement. "We confirmed that storm water control projects were helping to improve winter clarity. At the same time, climate change impacts were altering the ecology in ways that reduced summer clarity."

Researchers have found that the number of days during which Lake Tahoe exhibits summer-like conditions have increased nearly 26 days since 1968. In addition, the lake has been warming half of a degree each year, which is 14 times faster than the long-term warming rate, according to the report.

"In the nearshore of the lake, the linkage between the algae that wash up on beaches and invasive clams is becoming more compelling," Schladow said. "For the first time, we can see a relationship between some boating activities and the spread of these same clams."

Visitors, residents, and researchers have noted an increase in the amount of algae around Lake Tahoe's shores over recent years. While the algae are thought to be the result of increased nutrients that favor their growth, the cause is still unknown, according to the report.

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Asian clams, which are an invasive species to Lake Tahoe and are often brought in on unclean watercraft, are thought to be associated with algae growth.

You can view the most recent report, an executive summary and more at tahoe.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/.

Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at arhoades@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.

Key Findings

Here are some of the key findings highlighted in this year’s State of the Lake Report:

From forests to lake, climate change continues to be overarching factor

Boats may be exacerbating the growth of algae

Lake clarity levels increased in winter and decreased in summer

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