MW&A First Hydroclimatologic Forecast a Qualified Success.

In early May 2014, MW&A published a prototype forecast of a ten-year-trailing-average (tyta) flow range applied specifically to the end of the calendar year for the Otowi gage of the Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico.   Given typical winter patterns for this gage, it is not too early to propose that the forecast was a success.


A final evaluation of the forecast will be published in early 2015, when the USGS updates its monthly statistics for that gage.  However, their preliminary daily values can be used, along with the historical seasonal patterns that are well known, to give confidence to a successful score for this first published forecast.

The first figure is an update of the original MW&A forecast graphic that was published on May 4.  The final Otowi gage tyta flow value for calendar year 2014 will fall within the central region of the MW&A forecast range.  Moreover, the relative difference between the MW&A forecast mean value and the anticipated flow value will likely be less than 3% by the final accounting.  Arguably, we hit the bull’s eye, although in this graphical example, the edge was grazed.

Additional complementary forecast products were made on two occasions this year by MW&A.  One product utilized our stochastic landscape calculations in June 2014 to estimate net flow past the Otowi gage for the calendar year.  That estimate of ~700,000 af (acre feet) is expected to be within 10% of the final value.

The last product was published in September for subscribers only, and covered additional streams, including sections along the Navajo, Pecos, and Gila rivers and other Rio Grande tributaries.

We will follow up soon with a new forecast for the tyta value at Otowi gage for the end of 2015.  One signature difference between our method and that of conventional approaches is that our process does not typically require spatial estimation of snowpack components for the year in which the forecast applies.  Therefore, typically there is no need to wait until the Spring for our basic forecast to be published.

MW&A is pleased to present these positive results for our very first published forecast.   With the support of an informed clientele, along with our new collaboration with LANL atmospheric scientist Dr. Petr Chylek, our ongoing continual process improvement is anticipated to enhance and accelerate our forecasting performance record for 2015 and beyond.

MW&A works with Los Alamos Scientist Dr. Petr Chylek On Hydrologic Forecasting Application

This week, Albuquerque-based hydrology firm Michael Wallace and Associates (MW&A) signed an agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for technical assistance and collaboration regarding MW&A’s hydrologic forecasting business line.  The initiative includes the support of world renowned LANL atmospheric/climate scientist Dr. Petr Chylek.   This initial phase is part of an exploration along the razor’s edge of proven hydroclimatologic and climatologic forecasting  for our host region of the US Southwest.

MW&A’s  original forecast for stream flows at the Upper Rio Grande was published in May of this year, at  The results are a qualified success, as a following post shows.

From founder Michael Wallace: “MW&A is fortunate to work in the State of New Mexico, which through the Small Business Assistance Program, encourages small business interaction with such important resources as Dr. Chylek.

Dr. Chylek’s proven insights and processes will assist and inform our ongoing development of a natural and practical foundation for future, more accurate hydrologic forecasting in the monthly to the decadal timescales.  This system, anchored in the indisputable connections between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and our local climate, will provide significant benefits in comparison to prevailing methods.

Potential customers for our advanced services include water managers, commodities investors, energy and natural resources managers, recreational industries, civil engineering firms, and insurance underwriters, to name a few.  For those who are willing to focus on what works in hydroclimatology, compared to what hasn’t been working, this could be an exciting time for hydrologic forecasting in the US Southwest and adjacent regions.”

Gila and Navajo River Stochastic Landscapes

A stochastic landscape plot of the  Gila River gage record  in Southeastern New Mexico has a distinctive ‘dryline’ feature not seen in previous stochastic landscape time series for other US Southwestern streams, so far.  The line of low streamflow within the plot parameters used, is clearly evident and associated with early to mid summer.

GilaNavajo_MWAcThe Navajo gage is located deep within the Rocky Mountains a few hundred miles to the north and several thousand feet higher in elevation, compared to the Gila station.  Although the Gila watershed includes a snowpack, the impact of that is graphically less evident than for the Navajo.  And although the Navajo obviously experiences a summer, there is little graphical registration of a ‘dryline’.

In spite of these important differences, a previous post documents that both stream gage records express strong correspondence to the PDO, along with apparent contributing influences from other ocean indexes.  There appears to be no contradiction.  The impacts of local orography, latitude and altitude all appear to work to modulate the PDO dominated signature in a manner consistent with hydrologic expectations.

Please note that as for past stochastic landscapes I have developed, each series is automatically ranged to its full data extent and therefore for absolute readings, each must be examined according to its own legend.   For example, the Gila plot blue color covers a range of 0 to 500 cfs, whereas the blue for the Navajo series covers a range of 0 to 200 cfs.    I produce these now for their strength at relative comparisons, along with additional proprietary processing my firm utilizes in ongoing hydrologic forecasting.

Finally, any interested reader is invited to study both time series (and those in previous posts) for evidence of a so-called Early Spring.  The Early Spring assertion has been applied by numerous researchers to this very region.  Moreover for the US Southwest at least, that notion is now embedded in contemporary government climate and weather forecasting content.

For my part, that notion appears to be contradicted by this data and many other hydologic time series in the Western US.  Accordingly, MW&A forecasts do not directly utilize the Early Spring notion.  This is one of the many reasons that our hydrologic forecasts are continuing to outperform government sponsored forecasts.

Hydroclimatology and Hydrogeology