New Climate Studies Project Sweeping Changes to Lake Tahoe

Climate change could alter the environment around Lake Tahoe, and cloud the famously clear lake.

Craig Miller/KQED

The warming climate could mean a Tahoe totally unlike what we know today. A suite of new studies projects temperatures much higher than previously forecast.
Scientists use "global climate models" to figure out what the future may look like. The problem is, those models aren't very specific, said Geoff Schladow, a professor at UC Davis.

"For example, you would have the same temperature for San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, which we know is ridiculous,"  Schladow explained.

He and a team of other scientists created more detailed models, so they could figure out what we might expect to see in the Tahoe region. They found in the worst-case scenario, temperatures could rise more than eight degrees by the end of the century. That would mean more rain, less snow and more wildfires.   The warmer temperatures could also create conditions for more algea blooms, meaning a murkier lake. 

"We've entered a phase now where the future is guaranteed to be nothing like the past," Schladow said.

Become a KQED sponsor

Follow KQED News on Facebook

Follow KQED News on Twitter

For the latest updates from KQED News, follow us on Twitter.