Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: Meanwhile, Back on the Rio Grande

While I’ve been away, my friends back in Albuquerque were kind enough to print a bunch of copies of my ruminations on La Niña and the Rio Grande and throw them on people’s driveways this morning (sub/ad req):

[M]ore than La Niña is at work this year, according to Glen MacDonald, a climate researcher at the University of California Los Angeles.

Beyond La Niña, in the equatorial Pacific, researchers like MacDonald have been watching two other large-scale ocean patterns that also seen to have their own influences on North American droughts.

One is a long-term, persistent pattern of warmer water in the north Pacific. The second involves vast stretches of warm water in the north Atlantic. This year, they all seem to be lined up alongside La Niña, ganging up in a worst case scenario for drought in the Southwest, MacDonald told me.

When all three are in sync, according to MacDonald, “the propensity for drought indeed extends east from California right across your region to Texas.”

The most famous case of oceans in sync like this was during the heart of the drought of the 1950s — New Mexico’s worst in the last century.


  1. Hmm, I seen a grammar error. 🙂

    Are we talking PDO, BTW?

    Also, while the article says that nothing like this coming low precip weather pattern has been seen since the ’50s, the closing graf implies that he’s seen something as bad before, presumably subsequent to the ’50s.

  2. Great blog! I just went thru the sw once on a two week national park circuit. That put spending a couple of years there watching the seasons change on my bucket list. Meanwhile, I will read your blog!

  3. Dano’s correct – it’s the Tingstad MacDonald PDO/AMO paper, which very much echoes the McCabe and Betancourt 2004 PNAS paper that I think Steve brought up (?) in the thread over at Yulsman’s blog.

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