08.29.2022

Lake Mead Low Water Levels, Part 2 – Colorado River Inflow Variations and Trend

Claims of record low water levels at Lake Mead being related to man-made climate change, CO2 Coalition member Roy Spencer points out that the record high extraction of water for human needs is the primary culprit. Apparently, it takes a lot of water to fill swimming pools and to keep a lawn green in the desert.

Key Points

  • Contrary to claims that drought is causing Lake Mead water levels to fall, the Colorado River natural flows into Lake Mead show no long-term trend since 1930.
  • Decadal time scale variations in river flow do occur, though, related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
  • Since about 2000, use of Lake Mead water has exceeded river inflow, causing water levels to drop. The negative phase of the PDO since that time has exacerbated the problem.

Authored by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. and originally published at Watt’s Up With That? on August 27, 2022.

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