Monday, July 14, 2014

Lake Mead Drops to Record Low Elevation

Headline:  Persistent drought lowers Lake Mead to record low elevation.


Lake Mead at Hoover Dam, July 2014.
Photo © Ken Dewey, Applied Climate Science, SNR, UNL.
The red line labeled "A" shows the "bathtub ring", i.e., the height of the water when the Lake is at capacity. The red line with the label "B" shows the height of the water level on December 21, 2012. The red line with the label "C" shows the height of the water level on July 11, 2014 (1081.77 feet or 147.23 feet below capacity)..  
 
The white "bathtub ring" is the result of exposing rocks that were at one time under the water and collecting mineral deposits.  A clear glass, for example, dipped in water and then allowed to dry will have mineral deposit "spots" on the glass.

The Bureau of Reclamation noted that Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, reached its lowest water level since the lake’s initial filling in the 1930s.

Lake Mead elevation as of July 11, 2014 was 1081.77 feet, which is 147.23 feet below capacity.
Lake Mead was dedicated in 1935 and began filling up that year. Note that the elevation in July 1935 and 1936 (see table: Table of historical Lake Mead Levels.) was only 928.40 feet and 1020.40 feet. Because Lake Mead was in the process of filling up in 1935-36, the actual record minimum elevation following the initial fill up of the Lake occurred on July 11, 2014. The level of the lake could continue to fall below the July 11, 2014 elevations.
 
It took 19 years after the 1964 low point for Lake Mead to fill up again.

For more information, check out our full report at:  Lake Mead 2014

Lake Mead at Hoover Dam, July 2014.
Photo © Ken Dewey, Applied Climate Science, SNR, UNL.



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