- Amid hazardous air quality and fire threats, UC Davis scientists at Tahoe were collecting data on the impacts.
This week, the Lake Tahoe Basin has been experiencing the nation's worst air quality as the Caldor Fire and other nearby wildfires threaten the region.
Nevertheless, field staff from the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center were out on the water, taking critical new measurements to better understand how wildfire smoke affects the lake. The scientists included Brant Allen, Katie Senft and Brandon Berry.
Such efforts include measuring solar radiation, UV levels, light absorption and changes in algal growth, and launching underwater gliders to track the changing impacts to the lake over the coming month.
“Most non-essential field work has been postponed due to the conditions, but the smoke-impacts work is considered to be a special and unique opportunity for learning about this new threat to not only Tahoe, but all western lakes and reservoirs,” said TERC Director Geoffrey Schladow.
The Tahoe Environmental Research Center has conducted continuous monitoring—come rain, shine, smoke or pandemic—since 1968.
"The conditions have been far from the normal clear days out on Lake Tahoe, but the data we are getting related to smoke impacts will be important to have throughout this fire," said TERC staff research associate Brandon Berry.
You can read more about how the N-95-clad scientists went the extra nautical mile in TERC’s “Smoke on the Water” post from their weekly newsletter “TERC Talk.”
Kat Kerlin is an environmental science writer and media relations specialist at UC Davis. She’s the editor of the “What Can I Do About Climate Change?” blog. email@example.com. @UCDavis_Kerlin