Climate change is affecting Lake Tahoe's clarity during the summer months, according to researchers at U.C. Davis.
A study released Thursday shows an earlier spring and warmer temperatures last year spurred the growth of algae, that dramatically reduced clarity readings from June through September.
Scientists with the U.C. Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center believe this will be a long-term problem.
Dan Segan is a natural resource analyst with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the organization that funded the study.
He says another algal bloom is possible this summer, despite a record amount of cold snow runoff.
"Because the overall volume of the lake is so big, those inter-annual variations in runoff temperature don't reall affect the overall temperature of the lake, so those dynamics are still in place," says Segan.
The planning agency says recent efforts to control fine silt entering Lake Tahoe has helped with its clarity during the winter months.
The same study that showed low-clarity levels last summer, saw improved readings during the preceding winter.