LAKE TAHOE (KOLO) - Historic drought followed by record-breaking precipitation and warm lake temperatures have led to the lowest annual average clarity levels ever recorded at Lake Tahoe, according to data released by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
The report says the average annual clarity level for 2017 was 59.7 feet, a 9.5-foot decrease from the previous year, surpassing the previous lowest value of 64.1 feet in 1997.
“In 2017, Lake Tahoe’s low clarity was primarily the result of two extreme climatic and hydrologic events — a perfect storm, so to speak,” said TERC Director Geoffrey Schladow, a professor of engineering at UC Davis. “The combination of arguably the most extreme drought period ending with the most extreme precipitation year produced the low clarity values seen. Measurements for 2018 have already shown a large improvement that are more in line with the long-term trend.”
See the attached joint letter from NV/CA officials, which was sent to the Tahoe Science Advisory Council.