Report: Less snow, more floods in Tahoe's future

November 16, 2010 6:07:00 AM PST
Scientists at the University of California, Davis say rising global temperatures are likely to alter Lake Tahoe and its surrounding region in the decades ahead.

Their report, released Monday, predicts a steady shift from winter snowfall to rain and an earlier snowmelt, leading to flooding by mid-century in the Upper Truckee River, which feeds the lake.

Prolonged droughts could take hold by the end of the century. That could drop the lake below its rim and cut off flows to the Truckee River, which supplies Reno, Nev.

Computer models suggest the average snowpack in the Tahoe basin will decline by 40 percent to 60 percent by 2100. Some winters could pass with only rain and no snowfall.

Tahoe's clarity also could be diminished by the emergence of algae.