Scientists develop new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado river — ScienceDaily

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory. The group’s paper, “Colorado River water supply is predictable on multi-year timescales owning to long-term ocean memory” was published October 9 by Communications Earth and Environment, an open-access journal from Nature Research.

The Colorado River is the most important water resource in the semi-arid western United States and faces growing demand from users in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Because water shortages in the Colorado River impact energy production, food and drinking water security, forestry and tourism, tools to predict drought and low water levels could inform management

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New Drought Monitor map shows extreme dry conditions growing in Calif.

The new federal Drought Monitor map shows that localized drought conditions are increasing in Northern California.

The Sept. 22 map had 3% of the state in extreme drought while the Sept. 29 map released Thursday shows 13%.

In the Bay Area, the map reveals that drought conditions range from moderate to severe.

The Drought Monitor, a mechanism to measure drought that’s mainly used in agriculture, is a joint effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A map is released each week with drought conditions across the country, indexing everything from groundwater storage to river levels. The factors California state water managers watch most closely are precipitation totals and reservoir and snowpack levels.

The presence of drought on the map is no surprise — especially in Northern California. While Southern California saw above-average rainfall

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