Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”

In my world, the 1976 tree ring analysis of the Colorado River’s long term flow done by Charles Stockton and Gordon Jacoby stands as one of the great works of policy-relevant science. But by the time I came on the scene, “Stockton and Jacoby”* (pdf) was just a marker, a signpost along our path to …

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Some day this drought’s gonna end….

Jim Carlton, in the Wall Street Journal last week (behind paywall, sorry*) does something I wish there was more of – looking at what happens when drought ends. In particular, a visit to Wyoming, where it was dry for a spell, then got wet: “You can get out of drought if everything goes right, and …

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A mediocre Colorado River Basin forecast

The Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal outlook, published this morning, is another “meh” for the Colorado River Basin. The good news is that odds favor wet for the southerly part of the basin, especially Arizona and New Mexico. The “meh” part is that the low country doesn’t contribute much of the river’s overall supply. Most of …

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How drought shaped Southern California

From the Orange County (Calif.) Weekly, a story about how drought shaped Southern California: Orange County as we know it exists because of the Great Drought of 1864. It wrecked Southern California’s cattle industry, then one of the largest in the world and the heart of the area’s economy, and forced ranchers to unload their …

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Plan for a bad news future on the Colorado, or embrace uncertainty?

In Colorado River Basin planning, there is a common mistake growing out the the Bureau of Reclamation’s Basin Study. It is made by seizing on the study’s finding regarding the impact of climate change (as exemplified by the results of General Circulation Models, or GCM’s) on the river, quoted here from the executive summary (pdf), …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: RIP Yoda, the tree

When Henri Grissino-Mayer first told me about the tough little old Douglas fir named Yoda, it struck me as the perfect bit of anthropomorphic business for a book about tree rings for kids. When Henri emailed me last month to tell me that Yoda had died over the summer, I knew I couldn’t let the …

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Colorado River Basin forecast for the winter of 2014-15: “meh”

Even with the fizzling El Niño forecast, the winter outlook for the United States released by the Climate Prediction Center yesterday looks awfully El Niño-like, with odds favoring wetter weather across the southern tier of states. But for the bulk of the Colorado River Basin’s water-producing region, which is in the central Rockies, the forecast looks …

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