Another La Nina?

Little Colorado headwaters near Springerville, AZ, a few years back when there was water

Shaun McKinnon has some numbers on this year’s Arizona runoff, and they aren’t pretty:

La Niña did a number on runoff down the Salt and Verde rivers this year — a low number, according to Salt River Project, which has released the final report on winter’s water yield.

For the 2011 runoff season, the two rivers delivered 223,916 acre-feet of water into the six reservoirsthat store water for metro Phoenix. That’s a little less than one-third of the long-term median runoff of 683,635 acre-feet for January -May and way down from 2010, when an unusually wet winter produced 1,418,960 acre-feet.

“But wait,” as Ron Popeil might have said. “If you act now, you also get, at no extra charge, another La Niña!”

[T]he latest runs from the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) models predict La Niña to re-develop during the fall…. This forecast is also supported by the ongoing La Niña-like tropical atmosphere, subsurface temperature trends, and the historical tendency for significant wintertime La Niña episodes to be followed by relatively weaker La Niña episodes the following winter. Therefore, ENSO-neutral is expected to continue into the Northern Hemisphere fall 2011, with ENSO-neutral or La Niña equally likely thereafter.

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