Scientists: Lake Tahoe's clarity gets better

RENO — Scientists say Lake Tahoe’s clarity has improved for the second straight year, although they warn that climate change is still taking a toll on the waters.

The University of California, Davis released its annual “Tahoe: State of the Lake” report Wednesday. Scientists have been monitoring the lake’s clarity since 1968, when a white disk could be seen as far as 102.4 feet underwater.

Researchers found that figure was 75.3 feet in 2012, a 6.4-foot improvement over 2011. They chalked that up to drier conditions that sent fewer pollutants into the lake, among other things.

But the report showed negative consequences of climate change. Scientists said Tahoe’s annual average surface temperature in 2012 was the highest ever recorded, at 52.8 degrees. Snow has also decreased as a fraction of total precipitation.