A reminder, once again, that Nature is bigger than scientists

The scientists were wrong, so they blame it on climate change.  Maybe they’re right this time that their wrongness is because of climate change.  Or maybe the scientists simply don’t know as much as they think they do, whether because of poor data, poor predictions, or the fact that Mother Nature always has surprises in store for those humans who think they can control her:

An annual report released Thursday detailing the status of Lake Tahoe’s health and clarity has researchers rethinking some long-held assumptions and focusing on trends that may be linked to climate change.

[snip]

Schladow said researchers were surprised that after the monster winter of 2010-2011, Lake Tahoe’s clarity improved last year by 4.5 feet to an annual average of 68.9 feet. Harsh winters that bring heavy runoff from snowmelt are generally believed to decrease clarity.

“In the past, very wet years have led to decreases in lake clarity, whereas we are now seeing the opposite,” he said.

Researchers also said that the 2007 Angora Fire on Tahoe’s west shore that burned more than 3,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes has had little effect on the lake’s water clarity, another surprise.

It’s time for scientists, especially environmental and climate scientists, to remember that they are not infallible.  A little humility in the face of Nature’s greatness and magnitude would be in order.

Tahoe is a gem and I wish it could be restored to the crystal clarity I remember from my childhood.  My uninformed suspicion is that the diminution in clarity has more to do with a vastly growing population, lawns were none existed before, and the fertilizers the people use on those lawns, which run off into the lake and encourage algae growth.  (Every backyard swimming pool owner knows this pattern, and there’s no reason to believe that it isn’t playing out on the lake as well.)  Curb fertilizers, and you’ll probably get a bluer lake.  Just saying (and guessing).

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  • http://bigfoodetc.blogspot.com Marica

    “It’s time for scientists, especially environmental and climate scientists, to remember that they are not infallible.  A little humility in the face of Nature’s greatness and magnitude would be in order.”

    Oh Book. Silly you. This is not going to happen. You cannot get a Ph. D. in any science if you don’t pass ‘I am Smarter Than Everyone Else on the Planet Except my Committee Members and Famous People in my Field to whom I Must Always Defer 101.’ (I failed this class, by the way.)

     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    But nature doesn’t kill scientists. Science has killed nature. Difference in accountability and respect.