Over at KQED, there is a story about how “Warm, Dry Weather Threatens Way of Life at Lake Tahoe.”
The narrative is like so many others we have seen before: climate change is damaging the ski industry via warmer winters.
Only there is a problem with this narrative at Tahoe: winters are not getting warmer. Actually, since 1980, they are trending colder with near statistical significance.
Yes, winters at Tahoe appear to have warmed considerably from the early 1900s to 1960s, but then the warming stopped. Since 1960, there is no sign of a significant trend in the average winter temperature, and since 1970 there is almost a perfect non-correlation.
The winter of 2014-2015 may be a very warm one, but it is not part of a significant trend during the past several decades. It is hard to link a single warm winter to climate change when the recent trends are toward cooling.
As for snowfall at Tahoe City, there is not even a remote hint of a significant trend since records began in 1911, and since 1980 the correlation is positive toward more snow – not less.