A couple of drought- and climate-related things in this morning’s Journal worthy of note. First, the near-term outlook from Tania Soussan:

Two meteorological forecasts out Friday confirmed what anyone who’s been outside lately already knows— New Mexico is dry as a bone.
The facts and figures in the federal reports are dire.

  • New Mexico received only 11 percent of its normal rain and snowfall over the last two months, putting that time period among the five driest November-December stretches in more than a century.
  • Long-term precipitation deficits have pushed Santa Fe, Jemez Springs, Las Vegas, Los Alamos and Zuni into emergency drought conditions.
  • Snowpack in the Pecos, Gila and Zuni-Bluewater basins has hit record lows, and snowpack in the Canadian River Basin matched the low for the past 25 years.
  • Snowmelt runoff in rivers and streams this summer is forecast to be well below normal, ranging from 24 percent of average on the San Francisco River at Clifton to 70 percent at the inflow to Costilla Reservoir.

(update: The reports Tania wrote about are on line: Charlie Liles’ drought status report and the NRCS runoff forecast.)

Second, from me, a story about a very interesting report out of a task force of state agency officials on the state’s long term climate change vulnerabilities:

New Mexico faces dwindling snowpacks and dying ski areas as the planet warms over the next century, according to a new state report on climate change.

Water supplies and ecosystems likely will suffer a one-two punch as changing climate exacerbates problems caused by a growing human population, according to the report, to be released Monday.

For farmers and ranchers, the picture is less clear, the report found, though water supply problems could make grazing and irrigation less viable.

Water systems with little or no storage, such as acequia irrigation and small municipal reservoirs, could be hit hard, according to the report.

Drought, already a significant natural problem, could get worse as population grows while global warming makes water shortages more severe.