In the space of 24 hours, the news highlighted so much that Lake Tahoe had fallen below its natural shore threatening water flows into the Truckee River and the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, and that in in response to rain and snowfall in the region, the lake had risen above its shore once again, ensuring a continuous flow of water for the time being.
Both reports falsely link climate change to the recent rise and fall of Lake Tahoe water levels. This shows that their journalists do not understand or care about the difference between climate and weather.
Both reports also ignored the significant population growth in the region that exploits Lake Tahoe, causing growing demands on the natural mass of water.
On Sunday, October 24, the Associated Press (AP) published a story on the thread, titled “Drought, Climate Change Make Lake Tahoe Fall Below Its Natural Shore.”
“Drought driven by climate change has caused Lake Tahoe to fall below its natural shore and stop flows into the Truckee River, a historically cyclical event that occurs sooner and more frequently than before, raising fears about the which could be reserved for the famous alpine lake, ”said the AP story.
Then came significant amounts of rain from a large west coast storm and less than 24 hours later, The Week published a story picked up by Yahoo News, entitled “Massive Storm Returns Lake Tahoe Water Levels Above from the natural edge “.
The Week reported:
“In northern California, heavy rains and snow fell over the weekend, so much so that water levels in Lake Tahoe are once again above the natural shore.
Water levels at the Tahoe City Dam rose nearly 6 inches in 24 hours, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and more than 24 inches of snow fell in the mountains around the Tahoe Basin.
Drought in the region surrounding Lake Tahoe is not unusual and neither are fluctuating lake levels.
As a previous post on climate realism commented, the western United States is not experiencing a mega-drought as some reports state. In fact, current conditions are not off the historical drought records for the region.
As discussed in Climate at a Glance: Water Levels-Lake Tahoe as recently as 2019, water levels in Lake Tahoe regularly exceed their maximum permitted levels, forcing the agency in charge of managing the levels. of water behind Lake Tahoe Dam to release water from Lake Tahoe. dam.
In fact, Lake Tahoe reached the maximum water level allowed each year from 2017 to 2019, and required special water releases into the Truckee River. See figure.
Even the AP acknowledged that water levels in Lake Tahoe have declined below its shore several times in the past, over different periods of time, writing:
“The lake fell below the natural shore at an altitude of 6,223 feet (1,897 meters) twice in the 1920s after the dam was completed in 1913 and created the storage capacity of up to 6 feet ( 1.8 meters) of water above the natural surface of the lake.
The level fell below the half-dozen times during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, but did not return until 1961, followed by 1977 and 1988. Since then, it has happened nine times, six since 2004. ” .
To be clear, according to the PA’s own accounts, Lake Tahoe’s water levels fell below its shore six times in a decade, the 1930s, the highest in any decade, nearly 100 years ago. of global warming. This happened decades before human emissions of greenhouse gases began to increase significantly.
What has changed since then and is likely to contribute to the current water problems of Lake Tahoe is population growth in the region.
Although population growth slowed during the 2010s to 2020s, in the late 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, population growth and the number of people exploiting Lake Tahoe resources went grow substantially.
According to a report:
“An interim census report reveals significant growth in the counties surrounding Lake Tahoe.
El Dorado County experienced a 4% increase in population in one year, with 162,586 residents registered by the U.S. Census Bureau last July. According to the 2000 census, South Lake Tahoe grew 9.4 percent in a decade to 23,609 residents. The population of El Dorado increased 24.1 percent, with most of the growth on the west side bordering Sacramento.
As a result, the Sacramento Bee reported in 2015 that the population of the region was on the verge of exceeding its water supply.
Nowhere in any of the stories do journalists discuss the impact of population growth in the region on Lake Tahoe water levels.
The main flaw of these stories is that they combine weather with climate. Drought is a meteorological phenomenon that only becomes an indicator of climate change if it persists for 30 years.
The classic period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The two journalists are confusing weather and climate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines it well:
“Weather reflects the short-term conditions of the atmosphere, while the weather is the average daily time over an extended period of time in a given place. … Weather can change from minute to minute, hour to hour, day by day and season by season “.
This is what happened on Lake Tahoe over the weekend, as rainfall returned the lake’s water levels above its natural shore.
No region of the United States is experiencing a prolonged period of drought, indicating climate change, as noted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its series of climate change indicators, entitled “Indicators of climate change: drought “.
The terrible warnings of the impending death of Lake Tahoe by climate change may make headlines during the UN Climate Conference (COP-26) in Glasgow, Scotland, on 31 October.
However, they do not reflect what science really says about the causes of fluctuating water levels in Lake Tahoe. History shows that they are completely natural. Unfortunately, once again the press ignored the facts in an effort to push the climate alarm.
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