Getting ready for class class discussion this afternoon about “drought” (“I get to see my students in person!” he exclaimed nervously.), I had occasion to check the latest Climate Prediction Center long lead forecast. It’s a few weeks old, but I don’t expect it’ll have changed much.
The brownest blob captures both river basins I care most about – the Rio Grande and Colorado, with odds tilted toward drier than average conditions through November. (And it doesn’t get any better if you look at the longer leads.)
Today’s class teaching goal: there’s no one thing called “drought”, it has many different definitions depending on who and where you are. For me, the most important measure is soil moisture (now) and snowpack (over the coming winter). Those are the things that determine available water supply for the communities of interest to me. There’s some overlap between my “drought” and a forest’s, or a fish’s, but they’re not necessarily the same thing. (If any of my students are listening in here, that’s a clue to the “what did Prof. Fleck leave out of the recorded lectures” discussion question.)
After some time last week in the mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, where Albuquerque gets its water, I had occasion to pull the latest soil moisture modeling from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. CBRFC only does the Colorado River Basin side of the continental divide, but there’s no reason to think it’s any different on our side of that line.