Hydroclimatology and Solar Explorations

Climate Forecasts & Predictions

High Accuracy of Rocky Mountain Streamflow Forecasts Continue into Fifth Year

It’s been over 5 years into the 6 year forecast of streamflows of the Pecos River near Pecos, NM, US. I introduced the original forecasts at this site back in late 2016, and also published a journal article in [1] which described the Solar Cycle basis and intermediate steps of this forecast.

As per the custom here, but apparently nowhere else in the global climate community, I’m periodically updating with the skill of the forecast. The featured image is one way to document the skill. This additional regression curve is a complementary method, which includes an R squared metric. With that R squared value, the associated correlation coefficient between prediction (hindcast and forecast lumped together) is an impressive 0.875. The closer to 1 the correlation, the better the match, and anything less than .5 is no better than a coin toss. So my forecast was much better than a coin toss. It may remain as the most accurate contemporary long term hydrological forecast of all, if I’m not mistaken [1].

The tight linear trend of the scatterplot demonstrates that the projection for the five year trailing average (5 yta) flows of the Pecos River near Pecos (PnP) has remained relatively accurate both for the hindcast and forecast periods.

Notably, by the end of 2016, when it seemed that all relevant experts, journalists, and lawmakers anticipated a deepening emissions-aggravated “megadrought”, my forecast (open circles) calmly projected moderately increasing flows over the following several years, reaching a new peak within 5 years that was slightly smaller than the previous peak around 2010. This appears to be roughly validated by the green solid line record.

A follow up description of the performance of selected climate emissions based flow models for a related stream gauge of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, was briefly included in this post. It is now available as an informal product. Specify interest via contact page.


[1] Wallace, M.G., 2019, Application of lagged correlations between solar cycles and hydrosphere components towards sub-decadal forecasts of streamflows in the Western US  Hydrological Sciences Journal  Volume 64 Issue 2.   doi: 10.1080/02626667.2019.

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