Drought and the Presidency

Putting together a lecture for tomorrow for UNM Water Resources Program students on “drought” –  how we define, measure, and think about it – I noticed that Donald Trump, during a visit to North Dakota, seems to have brought up the issue, to wit: Trump on North Dakota’s drought: “It’ll disappear, it’ll all go away.” …

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Brad Udall’s western water climate change bibliography

Speaking earlier this month at the University of Colorado’s Martz Conference, Brad Udall offered what amounted to a bibliography, both helpful and deeply unnerving, of recent scientific literature documenting what we have learned in recent years about climate change and water in the Western United States, and what it tells us about our future prospects. …

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US drought migration patterns are not what I expected

We also note that migrants are very strongly attracted to areas experiencing drought. Drought are associated with low precipitation and higher-than-average temperatures, two amenities that attract residents (even if they may be detrimental for local agriculture). That is from The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data, an NBER paper …

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From Reno, a data point illustrating how epically wet the winter of 2016-17 has been in the West

This is “water year” precipitation in Reno, Nevada, from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The brown line is an average years’ accumulation. The pinky-purple line is 1982-83, the all time wettest year on record, going back to the 1890s. The green line is this year. Folks, 2017 has already eclipsed Reno’s wettest year on record …

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Greenhouse gases and southwest “megadrought”

Scientists have dubbed decades-long periods of aridity in southwestern North America “megadroughts“. We’ve had them in the past, and research has long pointed toward an increasing risk of them as the climate warms. New research published last week by Cornell’s Toby Ault and colleagues has generated a wave of scary headlines – A Mega-Drought Is Coming to …

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Driest monsoon start in Albuquerque since 1993 and a drying Rio Grande

With just a quarter of an inch of rain (0.63 cm) since July 1, this is the driest start to a monsoon season in Albuquerque since 1993, (source) and it’s been hot – 3 degrees F above average, according to the National Weather Service. The result, Laura Paskus reports, is a drying Rio Grande: The river …

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