A weird dry stretch

Here’s a statistical oddity. Through April 14, we’ve measured 0.4 inches (10 mm) of precipitation at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque gauge in 2014, about 23 percent of the long term mean. This is the seventh straight year that Albuquerque has been below average through April 14. 2007 is the last calendar year in Albuquerque …

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Long term drought: just two years since 1999 have been above average on the Rio Grande

Danger. Journalist doing math. There be dragons: Otowi is the Rio Grande’s gateway to central New Mexico. Located between Santa Fe and Los Alamos, it’s the point where the river has picked up pretty much all the snowmelt it’s going to get, absent some minor contributions from the Jemez Mountains. It’s also a key point …

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Southwest drought risk

One of the significant areas of climate research right for us in the southwestern United States involves work on modeling the large (spatially and temporally) droughts that are so significant in long term human and ecosystem dynamics. These are the ones that are not just one-year whammies, but linger for decades, like the drought of …

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fifty years of drought

From Jonathan Overpeck last month in Nature (gated): The complexity of these megadroughts still defies complete explanation and yet it implies that unusually persistent anomalies of sea surface temperature can combine with amplifying changes in vegetation and soil to drive droughts that — if they happened today — would outstrip many of our institutional capacities …

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Declining westerlies and Pacific Northwest hydrology: a hypothesis

Charlie Luce from the U.S. Forest Service’s Boise Aquatic Sciences Laboratory and colleagues have a paper in the most recent Science examining the question of whether declining westerlies are behind the changing snowpack in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest: Decreases in lower-tropospheric winter westerlies across the region from 1950-2012 are hypothesized to have reduced …

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