Honorable mention in WaterWired: The Unquantified Basin

Professor Michael Campana is widely known, among other things, for his deep expertise in SW US water resources, including the associated vast interbasin groundwater flow network.   Mike, myself, and others had recently collaborated on a spontaneous public evaluation of the true quantity of potable groundwater in the Albuquerque Basin.  Mike mentions that discussion of The Unquantified Basin in his famous blog at:


Status on MW&A Streamflow Forecast for 2014 and New Related Presentations

MAO_Otowi&PDO_2014AugReportImage1ENSO and GHG based climate forecasts for the US Southwest continue to receive deep and widespread attention, even though it can no longer be disputed that both parameters (independently or combined) consistently fail to accurately anticipate the climate of the Upper Rio Grande and many other regions within the US Southwest.

Meanwhile, a novel approach to produce simpler and more accurate US Southwest streamflow forecasts was first posted here in early May 2014.   Now, three months later, the above chart indicates that as anticipated, the Otowi gage record on the Rio Grande in north central New Mexico still tracks closely to the PDO monthly values.

The correlation coefficient between the two parameters over this chart’s time span is ~ 0.67 when the Otowi record is lagged by one month.  That value is ~ 0.6 when no lag is utilized.  These correlation values for monthly inputs are notably higher than those calculated for annual-average time series, but they are lower than those calculated for ten year trailing average time series.

The two parameters do not always track so closely.   That underscores the importance of applying comprehensive and regionally based information and techniques in any forecast activity we undertake for our clients.   This current forecast has been simplified for demonstration purposes.

It might not surprise readers of this site that the current Otowi streamflow trend also is well on target to meet MW&A’s original May forecast by the end of this year.   I plan another status report in the Fall of 2014 and an evaluation report in early 2015 when the final 2014 data for Otowi gage and the PDO are published.

CumFlowsOtowi2014ForecastMadepreJulyThis forecasting review concludes with a graphic of a projected total cumulative volume of flow past Otowi gage roughly equal to 700,000 acre feet over the calendar  year of 2014.  Following up to our clients and/or constituents with critical assessments of forecast performance (ours and our competitors) is another important feature of the MW&A approach.  We aim for transparency and accountability on both forecasting and hindcasting.


1.  Our approach is being extended to other streams, and a number of presentations and papers are in development.  I will present a summary of this work at the New Mexico Mining Association annual conference this September in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The title of this talk is:

Impacts for Hydrologic Forecasting from Correlations of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) to Major New Mexico Watersheds.  

2.  Dr. Petr Chylek, a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) research Fellow who specializes in the study of global and US Southwest climate,  shares similar stochastic perspectives.   Last year I advocated to the New Mexico chapter of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) that he be invited to give a presentation on his recent research.  I’m happy to announce that his AWRA talk is scheduled for next week in Albuquerque New Mexico, on Tuesday August 12 starting at 11:15 am at the (aptly named) Chama River Brewing Company, 4939 Pan American Freeway. The title of his talk is:

Natural Climate Variability and the Southwestern US Climate.

I include his supporting abstract and bio in italics below:


To identify the main causes of the SW US temperature variability we perform a multi-linear regression analysis of the observed 20th century mean SW US near surface air temperature considering the known 20th century radiative forcing and oceanic indices as potential explanatory variables. An addition of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) as one of predictors improves significantly the fraction of temperature variance that can be accounted for. The AMO index, together with anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosol, is the most influential factor affecting SW US temperature variability. On the other hand the most important predictor of the precipitation is the PDO, with minor contribution from the AMO, and effectively a negligible effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosol. Using the past observations we make a statistical three year forecast of future Rio Grande flow rates.

Speaker Bio:

Petr Chylek received a Diploma in Theoretical Physics from the Charles University in Prague and the Ph. D. from the University of California in Riverside. He was a postdoc at Indiana University in Bloomington and at The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. He held faculty positions at SUNY Albany, Purdue University, University of Oklahoma, and at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, before joining the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2001. His fields of research include light scattering and radiative transfer, aerosol and cloud physics, experimental laser physics, atmospheric radiation and remote sensing, and climate and climate change. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, of the Optical Society of America and of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is an organizer of Santa Fe Climate Conferences (http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/santafe/) taking place each five years where climate expert from both sides are invited and encouraged to talk (the 4th Santa Fe Climate Conference is planned for 2016).


Disclaimer:  The information sets provided here, including all graphics, text and underlying calculations, are  purely for demonstration purposes.  MW&A is not responsible for any errors and/or omissions associated with any aspect of these demonstrative products.  Moreover, MW&A is not responsible for any use of these demonstrative products by any other party regardless of purpose.

Hydroclimatology and Hydrogeology