One of the driest February-March’s in Albuquerque history

Correction (update?): As of Friday, March 25, 2016, it’s now not likely to rain in March after all. Correction (update?): It might rain after all!   In 1934, the official Albuquerque weather station received 0.04 inches of rain in February and 0.01 in March. This year, we received 0.05 in February. So far, we’ve gotten …

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The warm, dry spring pushing Colorado River reservoir forecast levels down

This month’s US Bureau of Reclamation reservoir forecast model runs show the implications of the warm, dry spring, with a drop of 620,000 acre feet and six feet in elevation in the estimated end-of-year storage in Lake Powell, the major reservoir in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Here’s my long term forecast graph, updated with …

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New evidence that a warming climate is already reducing Colorado River flows

Connie Woodhouse at the University of Arizona and colleagues have a new paper presenting the most direct link yet between a greenhouse-warmed climate and reduced flows in the Colorado River. Modeling has for many years projected such an effect in the future, but the new Woodhouse et al. paper (Increasing influence of air temperature on …

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What does it mean to have “drought” in Yuma?

In my endless puzzling over the meanings we attach to the word “drought”, there is this, from yesterday’s Climate Prediction Center seasonal drought outlook: What does it mean to talk about “drought” in places like Yuma or the Imperial Valley that average less than 4 inches (10 cm) of rain a year, and that get …

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Awaiting our May miracle in the Colorado River Basin

It was 72F (22C) in Albuquerque yesterday, a record, and our decent snowpack is already starting to melt out. It’s early for that. And February (see PRISM map at right) has been dry, which hasn’t helped. In the Upper Colorado River Basin, snowpack measured across all the river’s main tributary systems above Lake Powell (the …

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Albuquerque at 127 gallons per person per day – how low can cities go?

I’m giving a talk next week at the CLE Law of the River conference in Las Vegas about what I think is one of the two most important trends in western water management. The first, which we hear a lot about, is the pressure posed by climate change and drought. The second, which I don’t think …

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