May 27 webinar: Coping With Megadrought in the Colorado River Basin, featuring me

I’ll be I’ll be yammering about the  Colorado River basin, sneaky droughts, and megadroughts with the folks at NIDIS (the National Integrated Drought Information System): As the Colorado River Basin experiences 2020’s “sneaky drought” amid a long term pattern that looks increasingly like one of the region’s millennial “megadroughts” that last decades, water managers are …

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Levels of uncertainty on the Colorado River

One of the great lessons of the last two decades on the Colorado River is the futility of the “search for certainty”. No one number for “the flow of the Colorado River” can allow us to plan for the future. We face the formidable task of building a river new management framework that is robust …

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Some other stuff I’m up to – climate change impacts research

Natalie Rogers did a nice writeup for the University of New Mexico on some work I’m doing with a group of University of New Mexico colleagues on climate change impacts and adaptation in New Mexico. Working as part of a new affiliation between UNM researchers and the USGS-funded South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, some …

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The risk of Southern California falling into “perfect drought”

Last year was, for Southern California water management, perfectly wet. By that I mean a good snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River Basin. I’m stealing a wonderful phrase here from a new paper by the University of Arizona’s Connie Woodhouse (the full paper’s behind a paywall): “A Long View of Southern California …

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Climate Change and rhetoric on the Colorado River

I could see the reporters at last week’s Colorado River Water Users Association meeting chafing at the rhetoric we were hearing regarding climate change. In my strange new role (kind of a reporter, I am writing another book,  and kind of not – I have this crazy university gig) I was invited into the news …

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Megadrought

In the southwest…. “The last 19 years have been equivalent to the worst 19 years of the worst mega-droughts on record,” said Park Williams, a professor of bioclimatology at Columbia University, at a presentation of the work. Only three recent mega-droughts—in the late 800s, the mid-1100s, and the late 1500s—were worse than the current period, …

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Drought, climate change – we know more than we used to

Ben Cook, Justin Mankis, and Kevin Anchukaitis have an extremely helpful review paper in Current Climate Change Reports (ungated, thanks) sorting out what we do and don’t know about the impact of climate change on droughts. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was cautious in its assessment of our knowledge of drought, reporting only “low confidence” …

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“drought” – Philp on weather, water, and yesteryear’s language

Tom Philp had a great piece in Water Deeply last week about the language we use: Water policy becoming a prisoner of its own limited vocabulary, particularly when it comes to the weather. Here is a case that “drought” and “normal” belong in the dustbin of history, for their overuse can lead to the wrong conversation. …

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Not to alarm you further, but the Jan. 1 runoff forecast for New Mexico is really really bad

As I mentioned, this is the driest start to a water year in a century in Albuquerque. The preliminary Jan. 1 runoff forecast from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service bears this out. The forecast, based on snow measurements, is stark. NRCS has 40 years of snow records, and for many sites, this is the …

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governance, adaptation, and climate change

Much of the “cultural cognition” problem around our climate politics and discourse derives from the politics of “mitigation” – the fact that the tools needed to reduce greenhouse gases are politically (culturally?) abhorrent to some, who in response dismiss the underlying science of climate change. This has the effect of foreclosing the second crucial climate …

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