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Lake Level Reconstruction

The water level in lakes fluctuates with changes in moisture balance (precipitation minus evaporation) within the lake basin. In closed basin lakes, particularly in arid regions, lake level fluctuations can be dramatic, resulting in fossil shoreline deposits and other features indicative of past lake levels. These data can be used to reconstruct the basin’s moisture balance and climate history.

Pyramid island in Pyramid Lake, Nevada

Accessing Data at the World Data Service for Paleoclimatology


Search Lake Level Reconstruction Data

Search through lake level reconstruction studies using Investigator, Title, Location Name, Parameters, and Latitude/Longitude Bounds.

Launch Lake Level Data Search


Search All Paleoclimatology Data

Access a free text search of our entire study archive.

Launch Paleo Data Search


Interactive Map

Select study locations by region, proximity to a point, or text-based attributes.

Launch Interactive Map


Google Earth Map

Locate and download lake level studies using a Google Earth map interface. Google Earth must be installed to use this search tool.

Download KMZ File


NCEI Paleo Web Service

Use the NCEI Paleo Web Service to access lake level reconstruction study metadata records

API Documentation


Browse Lake Level Datasets

Contributing Data

To contribute to the Lake Level archive, review our instructions for contributing data. Prospective data providers can email paleo@noaa.gov to submit data and study description information.

Other Resources

Additional sources of NCEI data and information on lake level histories.