New outlook shifts odds slightly toward dry 2016-17 across Colorado River Basin

At the risk of driving faster than is prudent on a twisty mountain road at night, the new 2016-17 climate outlook released yesterday does not look particularly encouraging for the Colorado River Basin:

December-February outlook

December-February outlook

That’s December 2016 – February 2017. Browns mean odds are shifted toward dry.

A reminder that the maps can be a little confusing, so it’s best to paint a word picture of what they colors actually mean. The Climate Prediction Center divides the historical record into thirds – the one third wettest count as “wet”, the one third dry are “dry”, etc. That light brown means that there’s a 33-40 percent chance of dry, so it’s only a slight shift in the odds. For that darker brown draped across my house in central New Mexico, that’s a 40-50 percent chance of dry.

Importantly, the odds also favor warm, which combines pushes our river flows in the direction of dry.

The full maps are here.