Lake Tahoe, Lake Almanor, Mono Lake and three other large lakes in Northern California and Nevada are warming surprisingly faster than the surrounding atmosphere, according to a new report.
Further research is required to determine whether global warming is the culprit, but some tangible results of the warming are apparent: invasive clams and algae blooms at some beaches on the southeast shore of Tahoe.
“Large lake temperatures are excellent indicators of climate change; however, their usefulness is limited by the paucity of in situ measurements and the lack of long-term data records,” according to the Nov. 25 report titled “Satellite observations indicate rapid warming trend for lakes in California and Nevada.”
“A comparison with air temperature observations suggests that the lake surface temperature is warming approximately twice as fast as the average minimum surface air temperature.”
The report is here.
Tahoe’s surface waters warmed 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit from 1992 to 2008 – a mean annual increase of 0.23 degrees, according to an article about the report in the Sacramento Bee. During the same period, air temperature recorded at Tahoe City increased 0.10 degrees annually.
The principle is explained in the Bee article.
“The basic principle at work in the study is the same one that makes a hot cup of coffee or tea so enjoyable on a winter day: Water holds heat longer than air,” it reads.
“The air above a tea kettle heats up only fleetingly before escaping into the room. But turn off the stove, and the water will stay too hot to touch for a long time.”