Study Says Warming Could Radically Change Lake Tahoe

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 24, 2008

UC Davis researchers predict global warming will dramatically alter the lake’s water circulation. John Reuter is with UCD’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center. He says deep mixing of Tahoe's water layers will become less frequent, depleting the bottom waters of oxygen. 

"If you have a reduction of mixing with depth, you’ll not get as much replenishment of oxygen throughout the entire lake and just like we need oxygen, the fish and bacteria and algae and insects and plants that live in lakes need that as well." 

Without the mixing of waters to distribute nutrients and oxygen, Reuter says Lake Tahoe would become like any other lake or pond. One likely result would be fewer cold-water native fish.

The study says if global greenhouse-gas emissions continue at current levels, the mixing of water could end in about a decade.