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Fact check: US Senator Feinstein's claim on temperature rise at Lake Tahoe Fact check: US Senator Feinstein's claim on temperature rise at Lake Tahoe
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Help us fact check the claims about by adding trusted scientific sources  Fact check the claims about the warming of Lake Tahoe by adding trusted scientific sources
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U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote a <a href="https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1026898383833714688">tweet</a> on August 7, claiming that Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada, was warming faster than the oceans and 14 times faster than the historical average. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote a <a href="https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1026898383833714688">tweet</a> on August 7, claiming that Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada, was warming faster than the oceans and 14 times faster than the historical average.
https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1026898383833714688 https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1026898383833714688
<strong>Claim:</strong> <strong>Claim:</strong>
Lake Tahoe is warming 14 times faster than the historical average. Lake Tahoe is warming 14 times faster than the historical average.
<strong>Fact check: Mostly True. </strong> <strong>Fact check: Mostly True. </strong>
The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center posts a public annual report about the state of the lake. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center posts a public annual report about the state of the lake.
The <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2016/2016sotl_complete.pdf"><em>Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2016</em></a> says: "In the last four years the lake has warmed at an alarming rate of over 0.3°F/year, 15 times faster than the long-term warming rate." The <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2016/2016sotl_complete.pdf"><em>Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2016</em></a> says: "In the last four years the lake has warmed at an alarming rate of over 0.3°F/year, 15 times faster than the long-term warming rate."
The <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2017/2017-sotl-complete.pdf">2017 report</a> states: "In the last four years the lake has warmed at an alarming rate of over 0.5°F/year, 14 times faster than the long-term warming rate." The <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2017/2017-sotl-complete.pdf">2017 report</a> states: "In the last four years the lake has warmed at an alarming rate of over 0.5°F/year, 14 times faster than the long-term warming rate."
These two reports seem to support the claim from the senator. However, the most recent <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2018/SOTL_complete.pdf">report from 2018</a> states that, "in 2017, the volume-averaged temperature increased by only 0.04°F (0.02°C) over the previous year, but bringing it to the warmest value recorded. Since 2012, the average temperature of the lake has warmed by 1.1°F (0.61°C)." These two reports seem to support the claim from the senator. However, the most recent <a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2018/SOTL_complete.pdf">report from 2018</a> states that, "in 2017, the volume-averaged temperature increased by only 0.04°F (0.02°C) over the previous year, but bringing it to the warmest value recorded. Since 2012, the average temperature of the lake has warmed by 1.1°F (0.61°C)."
This is a rate of 0.18°F/year. This is not 14 times faster than the long-term warming rate. This is a rate of 0.18°F/year. This is not 14 times faster than the long-term warming rate.
The statement from Senator Feinstein is thus false for the year 2018, but is true for 2016 and 2017, according to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center report. The statement from Senator Feinstein is thus false for the year 2018, but is true for 2016 and 2017, according to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center report.
[caption id="attachment_83461" align="alignleft" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-83461" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/08/10201900/Annual-average-water-temperature-Lake-Tahoe-2018-620x353.png" alt="" width="620" height="353" /> Annual average water temperature Lake Tahoe in 2018, from <em><a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2018/SOTL_complete.pdf">Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2018</a></em>[/caption] [caption id="attachment_83461" align="alignleft" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-83461" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/08/10201900/Annual-average-water-temperature-Lake-Tahoe-2018-620x353.png" alt="" width="620" height="353" /> Annual average water temperature Lake Tahoe in 2018, from <em><a href="http://terc.ucdavis.edu/stateofthelake/sotl-reports/2018/SOTL_complete.pdf">Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2018</a></em>[/caption]
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