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Lake Level Reconstruction

Pyramid Lake/Pyramid Island       Viau and Gajewski 2001 Holocene Lake Status Map

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. A history of moisture balance and climate in the basin can then be derived.

Obtaining Data at the World Data Center

Search Datasets

  • 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.
  • Interactive Map
    Select study locations by region, proximity to a point, or text-based attributes.
  • Search All Paleoclimatology Data
    Access a free text search of our entire study archive.
  • NCEI Paleo Web Service
    ​Harvest Lake Level study metadata records using the NCEI Paleo Web Service

Browse Datasets

Contributing Data

Investigators who wish to contribute their data to our lake level archive can find information on contributing below. Data and study description information can be contributed by emailing your data to

Other Data Archives

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