Climate projections suggest a more variable climate for California and Nevada. Over the last 6 years, the region has experienced extreme droughts to extremely wet years, which may be representative of future climate patterns. California and Nevada are coming off their 2nd wettest and 7th wettest water years (Oct 1st-Sept 30th) in a 122-year record. This extraordinarily wet year followed the modestly wet 2016 (ranked 51st and 28th wettest WYs in CA and NV respectively), and followed the remarkably dry four years 2012-2015 (driest and 29th driest 4-year period in CA and NV respectively). Currently, the low amount of rain and snow that has fallen and accumulated during the 2018 water has brought concern of potentially falling back in drought for the region. The location of many high pressures systems this winter have blocked storms from the Pacific Ocean from reaching the West coast. The wind direction has been coming from Alaska which brings drier air and less storms. The information below is gathered from multiple website developed by CNAP researchers and collaborators to provide a summary of the current precipitation and water resources throughout the region. This effort is in partnership with NIDIS (National Integrate Drought Information System) and the CA-NV DEWS which utilizes new and existing partner networks to optimize the expertise of a wide range of federal, tribal, state, local and academic partners in order to make climate and drought science readily available, easily understandable and usable for decision makers; and to improve the capacity of stakeholders to better monitor, forecast, plan for and cope with the impacts of drought.
How much precipitation have we gotten this year? How does it compare to other years?
For more information, please click here. The analysis and figures are courtesy of D. Pierce from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
||Clark County (La Vegas)
||8-Station Index (Northern Sierra Nevada)
What is the Likelihood of Reaching Median Precipitation?
For more information or to calculate for a different station, please click here. Figure is courtesy of N. Oakley from Desert Research Institute.
What about Snow Pack?
Figure shows the snow water equivalent (SWE) or the amount of water that is stored in the snow, as a percentile relative to the stations record. A 5th% percentile indicates that only 5% of the years had less snow on the specified date than this current year. For more information please click here. The analysis and figure are courtesy of D. Lettenmaier from UCLA.
What is the Impact on Water Supply?
The combined water storage in 28 reservoirs and snowpack for California. For more information please click here. The analysis and figure is courtesy of Michael Dettinger, USGS.
What is the Impact on Soil Moisture?
Modeled soil moisture illustrates how dry this current year is relative to past years. The soil moisture is modeled using the VIC hydrological model run on a daily time step. For more information please click here. The analysis and figure are courtesy of D. Lettenmaier from UCLA.
Is there any rain on the horizon?
The figure below shows the probability of an atmospheric river (AR) hitting the US west-coast based on the GFS ensemble. ARs often being beneficial rainfall to the US west coast, but if they stall or are extreme in strength they can cause flooding. The figure was developed by collaborators at CW3E with Jason Cordeira at Plymouth State University. To see more information please visit the CW3E website.