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Aug 18 / Dave Schumaker

Lake Tahoe Clarity

Last weekend I was on a small vacation in Lake Tahoe, which is a place I’ve never been to before. The expanse and clarity of that lake is amazing. It also reminded me of an article I read (but did not post) back in July from Physorg.com, on the clarity of Lake Tahoe and how scientists use it to determine how healthy the lake is. The article can be found here. A recent study concludes that the clarity of the lake is the highest it’s been since 1991, however the overall trend for the clarity of the lake has actually been going down. Reuter emphasized that restoration efforts by scientists and public agencies in the Tahoe Basin are focused on the long term. “We can say why the clarity changed for a particular year,” he said, “but we should not confuse that with the trend over many years, which is that there is a decline in the clarity of the lake.” UC Davis researchers measure the lake’s clarity every seven to 10 days by lowering a white, dinner-plate-sized disk (called a Secchi disk) into the water at fixed locations and noting the depth at which the disk disappears from sight. Also see more information from UC Davis.

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