If you haven’t heard, Lake Tahoe has flipped. Most people are not aware of what that means, so let’s just say the water’s getting messy in a good way.
According to Mossy Oak, lake flipping is not all that unusual. It is a natural occurrence that gives a boost to any aquatic life that happens to be living in the water.
Now that Lake Tahoe is flipping, or as some people refer to it, mixing, fresh nutrients and oxygen are being made available, and life is thriving.
According to Yubanet, the Tahoe Environmental Research Center says research teams have been taking samples of the water every week. Doing so provides them with valuable details about the health and quality of the water. They also know what organisms are swimming around in the water at the time.
The wind is mainly responsible for lake flipping, otherwise known as lake turnover. In essence, it means that the layers in the water are turning over, so they become more evenly mixed.
The water in lakes can be defined by the temperature in that region. They include the following layers:
Epilimnion: The top layer of the water is coldest during the wintertime. In the summer, it is the warmest layer.
Hypolimnion: As the lowest layer in the lake, the water is the coolest in the lake during the summer and the warmest in the winter.
Thermocline: This layer falls between the Epilimnion and the Hypolimnion.
According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the mixing took place during the autumn when the Epilimnion was cooling and began sinking into the lower levels. It had dropped down to 500 feet by February 1 but on March 3, the entire lake had turned.
To determine when the flip was taking place, they dispatched buoys to measure the temperature of the water. On February 28, the bottom and top of the lake were at the same temperatures, verifying that the full flip was taking place. It’s the first time it’s flipped since 2018-2019.
It’s not unusual for a lake to turn, and it happens on a small scale annually. When the weather temperatures are right, and storms help to facilitate matters, a lake can completely flip.
The turnover should make life in and around the lake happy as the water will be oxygenated and nutrients will be spread out. People visiting the like will also enjoy much cleaner and clearer water.