Hyperspectral radiometers have been used to measure the light entering Lake Tahoe’s waters.
Residents in Sierra Nevada, United States have always been particularly attached to their famous Lake Tahoe. In all honesty, they have every reason to be proud as the lake is so famous for its crystal blue waters that researchers take turns to study its composition. Thanks to their most recent experiments, scientists have revealed the mystery behind Lake Tahoe’s infinite blue.
Until recently it was long believed that keeping the lake’s waters clear and clean is the best solution to preserve its unique blue shades. The scientific efforts that researchers have made have finally started to pay off as scientists have understood what works to keep the water blue.
It appears that the concentration of algae in the water is responsible for Lake Tahoe’s blue color. The findings have been made with the help of hyperspectral radiometers, some devices that measure the light that the lake’s waters mirror at various intervals of the day and of the year.
Results have enabled researchers to develop a so-called “blueness index” and further comparisons have revealed that clarity and blueness have nothing in common. As a matter of fact, the clearer the water was, the less blue it became. As a consequence, scientists have all agreed that there must be something else behind Lake Tahoe’s unique blue shade.
As they have continued their research, scientists have discovered that water algae render waters blue, especially when their concentration is at minimum levels. This usually occurs in the summer period, when very few algae nutrients are found in the water. On the other hand, the higher concentrations of sediment particles found in the water during this period of the year, also contribute to make the lake’s water deeply blue.
For that matter, scientists will work in the future to recreate these conditions at all times, so Lake Tahoe would remain blue and clear all throughout the year. Researchers have further specified that they will prevent algae nutrients, such as, phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the water as these change the composition of the lake.
Geoffrey Schladow from the Environmental Research Center in charge of Lake Tahoe’s care has been very excited with the recent findings that the team has made. He believes the research has enabled them to better understand what the lake’s waters need in order to stay crystal clear.
Image source: tahoequarterly.com