Down the Landsat rabbit hole, Albuquerque edition

Now that I’ve figured out how to easily download NASA Landsat imagery, (thanks, USGS!) I don’t think I’m going to get much else done this weekend. It’s an amazing conceptual tool for helping to think about how water moves through western North America. Here’s Albuquerque on April 13, with the colors tweaked to highlight growing plants. …

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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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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: the WIPP accident that was never supposed to happen

If I was a more clever writer, I’d have a joke here about how the statistics of a WIPP accident change now that we’ve got a Bayesian prior: The radiation leak that has shut down the nation’s only operating underground nuclear waste disposal site was, for all practical purposes, never supposed to happen. No one …

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Climate change in the West: it’s not just about more or less rain

Ben Cook at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has a new paper that offers a reminder of why the impact of climate change on our ecosystems and water supplies involves more than “will it rain less”? In some sense this is an old and obvious point, which I link here just to repeat said …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: decision-making under scientific uncertainty

Here in Albuquerque, we have a really big groundwater contamination problem under and adjacent to the Air Force base on the city’s south side. It is a textbook model of decision-making under scientific uncertainty: how long will it take to reach the nearest drinking water wells? I’ve seen an increasing confusion among the public, politicians …

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How much should Rio Rancho charge for this water?

Rio Rancho, New Mexico, has a dilemma. My colleague Rosalie Rayburn has been writing about the trials and tribulations of the privately owned Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club, which has had a lot of both. In her latest story, Rosalie describes … a recent request by potential Chamisa Hills buyers Bob Gallagher and Jhett Browne …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere: “an insatiable greed for water”

From the morning paper, a look at the U.S. government’s filing in the case of Texas v. New Mexico (and Colorado*) over water-sharing (or lack thereof) on the Rio Grande: In a brief filed Thursday, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli alleged that excess groundwater pumping in New Mexico is intercepting water in the shallow aquifer …

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