2013 State of Lake Tahoe Report Released | Clarity Goes Up, Long Term Looks Grim…

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Lake Tahoe from space
Lake Tahoe from space

UC Davis’ annual “Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2013” yesterday.  Davis researchers have been studying Lake Tahoe’s chemistry, biology, clarity, and physics since 1968.  Their reports are in depth, well put together, and extremely interesting.

Clarity in the lake has improved for the 2nd straight year from 68.7 feet to 75.3 feet (clarity was at 100 feet in 1968).  This is huge as the current goal is to get Tahoe to 78 feet of clarity.

Climate change is definitely starting to affect Lake Tahoe and some of the long term consequences are being measured:

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 7.11.00 PM
Lake Tahoe clarity graph


– 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit = the highest ever recored annual average surface temperature

– Snow has decreased in percentage of total precipitation from an average of 51% in 1910 to 36% in 2012

– Long term trend of less days with below freezing temper has caused snowmelt to peak on May 4th, much earlier than historical averages

– Tahoe had a net loss in water level this year.  Tahoe rose 1.3 feet during snowmelt this year versus 3.9 feet in 2011.  Last summer and fall saw the lake drop 2.3 feet.

– No deep mixing this year in Tahoe which helps promote aquatic life, brings nutrients to the surface, and helps keep the lake cool.

– Reduced numbers of tiny Cyclotella algae in 2012.  This algae contributes to murkiness in the lake.

Lake Tahoe, the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada
Lake Tahoe, the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada

Read the Full “State of the Lake Report” Here:


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12 thoughts on “2013 State of Lake Tahoe Report Released | Clarity Goes Up, Long Term Looks Grim…

  1. That is a fake image…lake tahoe wouldnt even be visible from space lmao…NASA at it again…

      1. Lake Tahoe is about 19 km across. It might be visible from space, though nowhere near as large as depicted in the image; it’s ridiculously out of scale. Doesn’t need an expert to see just how far out the image is; if it was to scale, then the lake would be probably a thousand miles long

  2. Hi You have a picture of Lake Tahoe from Space here’s a ling to the exact page i’m referring too…

    The image I’m referring to is the top image, what I’d like to know is the original source of the photograph I’ve checked the NASA web site but can not find anything. I’m trying to obtain information from the source for an important scientific enquiry.

    Any help in this matter will be very much appreciated.



    1. Hey Andy, not sure who’s photo it is. That said, it’s most likely a NASA photo as really only NASA releases space images to public. Since NASA is a public organization, you’re welcome to use the image.

      1. The image in question isn’t from space, it’s from about 35k. You can tell because of the distance to the horizon, you can barely see past Pyramid Lake just ~70 miles NE. If it was from space you would see significantly more of the globe, including ocean to the west. Flat Earthers are funny. Here is how you view your Horizon curvature from high altitude footage: http://flatearthinsanity.blogspot.com/2016/08/flat-earth-follies-high-altitude.html

        You can recreate this view fairly well in Google Earth with a custom *.kml file to set FOV to ~150° like so:


      2. Wait, you’re using a photo without knowing its source? Isn’t that a bit dodgy on the copyright front? You can’t even provide attribution, much less prove that you have permission to use the shot.

  3. The Lake is Clear(er) because we have had very little run off into the Lake the past two years. And not piping Sewage into the lake Helped. Golf courses using different product to fertilize has also helped.

    But rather than focus on A little tiny sliver of time (Our Life time) Read this article about just how much things Have, Can, and Will change in the future.
    History is always the best teacher
    Think About Old Growth Trees in Fallen Leaf Lake and South Tahoe. Yes it will happen again.

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