NOAA NWS disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks
NOAA NWS disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks
NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks and hyrologic modeling for flood and low water prediction.
Years ago, spring floods were in late April / early May - due to snowmelt runoff and light rainfall.
More recently, floods have been in March / early April - due to snowmelt runoff and moderate to heavy rainfall.
The seeded article, click on "Read Article", shows figures and text issued by the NWS North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) .
The NCRFC is located in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
I live in Chanhassen, Minnesota but I no longer work at NWS NCRFC because I spoke out about climate change happening and the need to consider climate change in NWS hydrologic models used for forecasting flooding and low water river conditions.
My career in hydrologic modeling and flood prediction was cut short by NWS supervisors in 2005 when they removed me from public service for my speaking out on climate change in the Upper Midwest and global warming.
NOAA NWS disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks
- added NCRFC March 7, 2007 narrative (below original message).
--- In ClimateArchive@yahoogroups.com, "npat1" <npat1@...> wrote:
> NOAA NWS disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks
> NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks and hyrologic modeling for flood and low water prediction.
> Years ago, spring floods were in late April / early May - due to snowmelt runoff and light rainfall.
> More recently, floods have been in March / early April - due to snowmelt runoff and moderate to heavy rainfall.
> The seeded article, click on "Read Article", shows figures and text issued by the NWS North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) .
> The NCRFC is located in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
> I live in Chanhassen, Minnesota but I no longer work at NWS NCRFC because I spoke out about climate change happening and the need to consider climate change in NWS hydrologic models used for forecasting flooding and low water river conditions.
> My career in hydrologic modeling and flood prediction was cut short by NWS supervisors in 2005 when they removed me from public service for my speaking out on climate change in the Upper Midwest and global warming.
> Related link:
> NOAA NWS disregards climate change in their Spring Hydrologic Outlooks
> SHARE EARTH:
Early Spring Basin Conditions
March 07, 2007
SUMMARY OF PAST AND CURRENT CONDITIONS
Red River of the North River Basin: After the major flood in the spring of 2006 the Red River Valley has been dry to the point of drought and model states support this. The U.S. Drought Monitor lists the Red River Valley as Abnormally Dry, with the northern counties as Moderate Drought. Extreme Drought is the condition listed in the Red Lakes area and eastward to Lake Superior.
After last weekends storm the water equivalents in the Valley have increased by a little over an inch in most areas. Current observed snow water equivalents generally range from 3.0 to 4.0 inches in North Dakota and 2.0 to 3.0 inches in Minnesota. The distribution of the snow pack is fairly even, with heavier amounts in the northern Red River Valley. Snow depth reports in the region are 20 inches in most areas. Due to the lack of any real snow cover early in the winter season, frost depths range from three feet in the southern part of the basin to almost four feet in depth in the north.
The USGS reports the river ice ranges from 1.5 to 2.0 feet thick.
Devils Lake Basin: Streamflow levels have not changed much in the Devils Lake basin since the last outlook two weeks ago. The basin did get some snow however. Between February 21st and March 5th the Devils Lake basin received about an inch of snow water equivalent. Simulated snow water equivalents range from just over 2.0 inches in the southwestern part of the basin to 2.75 inches in the north and nearly 3.0 inches in the east. At present there are few reports of snow depth or water equivalent to compare.
Much of the Devils Lake basin is in a moderate to severe drought condition which is reflected in our model states. Simulated soil moisture in the lower zone of our model is well below average for this time of year.
Souris River Basin: Streamflow levels have not changed much in the Souris basin since the last outlook two weeks ago. The basin did get some snow however. Between February 21st and March 5th the Souris basin received 0.75 to 1.0 inches of precipitation over most of the basin except the headwaters of Long Creek and the Souris River in Saskatchewan which only saw up to 0.50 inches of precipitation. Simulated water equivalents range from 2.0 to 3.0 inches across the northeastern half of the basin and from 1.0 to 2.0 inches across the southwestern half. This trend agrees with the trend of observed snow depths across the basin.
Much of the Souris basin is in a moderate to severe drought condition which is reflected in our model states. Simulated soil moisture in the lower zone of our model is well below average for this time of year.
SUMMARY OF PAST AND CURRENT CONDITIONS:
Upper Peninsula of Michigan River Basins: Two systems moved through the Upper Peninsula from February 25th to March 3rd that dropped 1.0 to 3.0 inches of precipitation across the area. Simulated snow water equivalents range from 3.0 to 7.5 inches. The highest simulated snow water equivalents are around the Marquette, Grand Marais, Wakefield, and Houghton county areas where observed snow depth reports range from 25 to 40 inches.
The U.S. Drought Monitor lists the western portion of the Upper Peninsula as severe drought. With the recent precipitation in the area they are still 2.0 to 4.0 inches below mean precipitation for the past 180 days. In the eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula, where precipitation is now around the mean for the past 180 days, the U.S. Drought Monitor denotes this area as abnormally dry to moderate drought. Streamflows throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are below the long term average.
Menominee River Basin: Streamflow levels have not changed much in the Menominee basin since the last outlook two weeks ago. The basin did get some snow however. Between February 21st and March 5th the Menominee basin received 1.0 to 2.5 inches of snow water equivalent. The Michigamme and Paint River basins each got about 1.5 inches of precipitation. The central portion of the Menominee basin received about an inch of precipitation while the lower end of the basin added up to 2.5 inches of snow water equivalent.
Simulated snow water equivalents range from nearly 7.0 inches in the headwaters of the Michigamme basin to about 3.0 inches where the Menominee River begins near Florence Wisconsin. The central portion of the Menominee basin has 1.0 to 2.0 inches of water equivalent and the lower end of the basin has around 3.0 inches. These values compare favorably with the latest WE-Energies snow survey taken at the end of February. This WE-Energies survey indicated that SWE's were generally below normal. However, the storms in early March brought many stations to near-normal or even higher than normal levels.
Much of the Menominee basin is in a moderate to severe drought condition which is reflected in our model states. Simulated soil moisture in the lower zone is generally below average for this time of year.
Northern Lower Michigan Basins : Since the last outlook two winter storms have added 6 to 12 inches of snow bringing the snowfall totals near normal for this time of year. Due to the warm winter, the total current snow depth are still a below normal. Observed snow water equivalents range from 2.0 to 4.0 inches
There has been no melt since the last outlook due to the cold weather but it has not been cold enough to add any frost.
Soil moisture for the upper and lower tension zones are nearly 100 percent full. The primary base flow is about a third of capacity.
Grand Kalamazoo St. Joseph Saginaw and White River Basins: The two recent major winter snowstorms have resulted in significant increases in snow depths across much of the Michigan basins. Current snow depths range from 2 to 12 inches with the heaviest amounts in the western and northern portions of lower Michigan. Snow depth totals across northern Indiana and southern lower Michigan range from 1 to 8 inches. Snow water equivalent in western and northern lower Michigan range between 1.0 to 4.0 inches and 1.0 to 1.5 inches in northern Indiana and southern lower Michigan.
In general, soil moisture conditions across lower Michigan range from very moist in the western and southern areas to extremely moist in the east. Model states support this across the region.
Streamflows in rivers across the region are generally normal to well above normal for this time of the year. A number of gages are still affected by ice. The wettest areas are located in the central portion of lower Michigan.
Southeast Michigan Streams: On March 1st 1.0 to 2.0 inches of rain mixed with some snow fell which caused bankfull rises and some minor flooding on mainly the Clinton River and the Rouge River basins, which have since fallen back within bank. According to the USGS, flows for most of the sites are currently in the 75 to 89 percentile group.
Snow depths have diminished to be near zero in the east near Lake Erie to only about 4 to 5 inches in western and northern sections of this forecast group. Water equivalents are around 0.5 to 1.5 inch. Frost depths vary from about 1.0 to 2.0 feet, possibly deeper in isolated locations.
Model states for the main upper zone and main lower zone soil moisture storage areas are quite full--wet--especially for the Clinton and Rouge River basins which is indicative of the past precipitation events that have hit these areas since the beginning of the year.
Eastern Wisconsin Streams: Much of eastern Wisconsin gained a good 10 inches of fairly wet snow over the last week or so. The latest snow depths are generally in the 10 to 20 inch range, except south of Milwaukee where reports range between 5 to 10 inches. Water equivalent totals have climbed into the 2.0 to 3.5 inch range in the Fox-Wolf basin and are generally in the 1.0 to 2.5 inch range further south.
Most of the rivers continue to have strong ice cover, especially the Fox-Wolf basin. Frost depths vary from about 1.0 to 3.0 feet, with one 4.0 foot report in the far northern section of the Wolf River, northwest of Langlade.
Model states are fairly wet, especially for the Root River.
Western Lake Superior Streams: The northern Wisconsin portion of the forecast group is shown on the US Drought Monitor as being in a severe drought, while the Minnesota portion is shown as being in extreme drought. This has not changed since the first outlook. Model states are fairly dry.
The last winter storm that made its way through the region did bring a little bit of badly needed moisture, but the area is still far below normal. Generally, the Minnesota portion of this forecast group increased snow water equivalent from less than 1.0 inch to about 2.0 inches. The Wisconsin portion is believed to be in the 2.0 to 3.0 inch range, with possibly a higher value near the border with Michigan's upper peninsula.
The major river in this basin, the St. Louis River, continues to flow at about 50 percent of normal, and most of the smaller streams and rivers are also in this same range.
SUMMARY OF PAST AND CURRENT CONDITIONS:
TRIBUTARIES OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER MAINSTEM
MINNESOTA TRIBUTARIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Minnesota River Basin: Unlike the northern part of the state, the latest drought monitor has upgraded conditions in the Minnesota River basin to now be drought free. Model soil moisture states indicate that while the upper portion of the soil is still relatively wet, the deep soil moisture content remains near normal to slightly wetter than normal. Frost depths up to 3.0 feet exist in the upper basin where little snow cover existed until recently. Downstream of New Ulm frost depths are shallower ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 feet due to the insulating effect of snow cover for much of the winter.
Two recent major storms brought heavy snow to most of the basin, resulting in 200-300 percent of normal precipitation over the past 30 days. These storms produced a total of around 2.0 inches of additional water equivalent in the upper basin, to over 3.0 inches of additional water equivalent in the lower basin.
WISCONSIN TRIBUTARIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Chippewa River Basin: Two significant snow storms occurred the last week of February and the first week of March. Over the weekend of February 24th to 25th between a half a foot in northern sections, to a foot in southern sections of snow fell. Then March 1st and 2nd about another foot of snow fell basin wide.
With these two storms water equivalents across the basin increased from a pre-storm range of a 0.10 inches across the north and 0.5 inches south in mid-February, to 1.5 inches north and 2.0 inches south in early March.
Soils continue to be abnormally dry in the south and become moderate drought conditions in the north. This is a slight improvement from last month. Stream flows across the basin continue below normal for this time of year. Most flows are in the 10 to 24 percentile of normal.
Wisconsin River Basin: Soil conditions remain dry in the northern two-thirds of the basin including the upper reaches of the Trempeleau and Black Rivers, and normal below about Castle Rock Reservoir on the Wisconsin River and the La Crosse, Baraboo and Kickapoo Rivers. The two winter storms in the last two weeks have increased the snow pack across the entire basin and the snow water equivalent has gone from less than 1.0 inch up to 2.0 to 3.0 inches, with a small area around Willow Reservoir with just less than 2.0 inches.
Flow in the rivers ranges from about 94 percent of normal for the La Crosse and Kickapoo Rivers to less than 60 percent for the Black River. The Trempeleau River is currently running about 80 percent of normal and the Wisconsin River is now at 67 percent of normal, but it was actually above normal until March 3.
IOWA TRIBUTARIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Skunk...Wapsipinicon... Maquoketa...Cedar...Iowa Basins: As of two weeks ago, the snow water equivalent averaged 1.0 to 2.0 inches over these watersheds. Since then two major storm systems moved over the area. Snow water equivalent is now estimated to be 2.0 inches over the northern third of the basins. In the southern two thirds the precipitation fell as rain. This resulted in several streams rising to near flood stage levels at the beginning of March.
Current model states indicate both the upper and lower zone soils are saturated. Modeled Snow Water Equivalent is similar to ground observations, but in a few cases higher. The area in the southeast corner of Iowa that was classified as Abnormally Dry two weeks ago is now shown as normal on the Drought Monitor.
Streamflow within these basins is now normal to above normal at most locations. In the northern reaches of these basins rivers and streams continue to be ice covered.
Des Moines River Basin: As in the other Iowa basins, the two storms of late February and early March had a major affect on the Des Moines River Basin. Snow Water Equivalents in the northern half of the basin now average 3.0 to 5.0 inches. Over the Raccoon Basin SWE range from 2.0 to 4.0 inches.
Current model states indicate both upper and lower zone soils are saturated. Snow Water Equivalent is similar to ground observations. Streamflow within these basins is now normal to above normal at most locations.
ILLINOIS TRIBUTARIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
Illinois River Basin: Soil conditions in late November of 2006 through February 2007 were very wet throughout the basin, greater than 90 percent normal and currently remain very wet due to recent rain/snowfall and snowmelt in the region. Rainfall and snowmelt have caused minor to moderate flooding on the Illinois River and it's tributaries since January. River stages are still rising at some locations and are at or near moderate flood levels on the lower end of the Illinois River specifically Havana through Valley City. Many rivers in the Illinois River Basin are still affected with ice due to the long stretch of very cold weather in February.
Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) totals of 1.0 to 3.0 inches are modeled in northern Illinois. In the Kankakee River Basin there is a discrepancy between modeled and observed SWE. Modeled SWE ranges between 0.50 to 1.50 inches however observed reports are near zero. Observed snow water equivalents may be lower due a recent warmer weather pattern in the area that was just warm enough to melt the snow, but cool enough to trap the water in the fields and other areas to prevent some of the water to make it to the rivers and streams. There have been reports of ponding of water in many fields in the Kankakee River Basin-northeastern Illinois and northern Indiana. With another cooler temperature pattern present and forecast in the area our model is holding on to the SWE until the things warm up. That is the reason that there is a difference between observed and modeled SWE. Soil conditions are generally very wet as indicated by the model states and stream flow at most locations in the basin are above normal.
Average stream flow according to the USGS is greater than 90 percent of normal in the northern half of the basin. Since last fall precipitation has averaged 110 to 150 percent of normal.
Rock River Basin: In the last week of February to the beginning of March some strong storms produced 2 to 3 times the normal amount of precipitation for this time year in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Resulting snow depths at the beginning of March ranged from 8 to 15 inches in the upper part of the Rock River across southern Wisconsin and 2 to 6 inches in the lower part of the basin in northern Illinois. Current snow water equivalents are generally 2.0 to 3.0 inches for the Wisconsin portion of the basin, 1.0 to 2.0 inches in the middle part of the Rock in northern Illinois, and 0.5 to 1.0 inch for the lower Rock. Frost depths are 1 to 2 feet.
According to the USGS stream flows have returned normal to slightly above normal for the Rock River, especially for locations in Illinois. Some minor ice jam flooding began on March 3rd in the Joslin and Moline area.
Kaskaskia and Big Muddy River Basins: The Kaskaskia and Big Muddy basins in southern Illinois remain above normal for seasonal flow levels. USGS data shows current flows in the Kaskaskia ranking from the 50th percentile in the lower part of the basin to the 80th percentile in the upper reaches. Meanwhile flows in the Big Muddy River are near the 80th percentile over the entire basin.
River forecast model soil moisture states indicate the deeper layers of the soil profile contain 50%-75% of water holding capacity. The upper portion of the soil remains wetter than normal from the recent rainfall and snowmelt activity of the past few weeks. There is currently no snow remaining in the basin.
MISSOURI TRIBUTARIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
Fabius Fox Salt and Cuivre River Basins: Two major rain events have occurred since the middle of February. Thunderstorms dropped between 0.75 and 1.75 inches of rain on February 25th. The combination of this burst of heavy rain, snow melt, and frozen ground produced fast runoff, and brought most locations near or slightly above Flood Stage. The North River near Palmyra MO crested above the moderate flood level category.
A second round of thunderstorms on March 1st dropped another 0.75 to 1.0 inches of rain. This produced more fast runoff with crests near or a little above Flood Stage but peaks were lower than the February 25th event. Rivers have returned to short-term baseflow levels which are a little above the USGS long-term averages. In the Salt River Basin, the Mark Twain Lake rose to 10 feet above conservation pool and Cannon Dam outflows have been increased to draw down the pool. Above normal outflows should continue for the next couple weeks.
Upper soil zones are now nearly saturated and lower soil zones are now a little above normal throughout the Fabious, Salt and Cuivre River basins. The rivers are now ice-free.
Meramec River River Basin: There is no significant changes in conditions since the previous outlook. Two rain events have occurred in the past two weeks. On February 25th 1.0 inch of rain fell over the entire basin topping off the upper soil and keeping flows a little above normal. The next event was a minor scattered rainfall. The upper and lower soil zones are 95 to 100 percent full and primary base flow is above 50 percent of capacity.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER MAINSTEM :
Note: A major river regulation and forecast coordination effort continues to take place daily between the US Army Corps of Engineers and the the National Weather Service to monitor, regulate, and forecast the low flow situation of the Mississippi from the headwater area to St. Louis MO.
Mississippi River from the Headwater Area to Red Wing MN: Two recent storms brought significant precipitation to the Mississippi River above Red Wing. Precipitation totals ranged from 1.5 inches to 3.0 inches. Observed snow depths now range from 10 to 22 inches across the basin. Simulated snow water equivalents range from 1.0 to 3.0 inches, with the lower values in the northern reaches of the basin.
The northern reaches of the basin are still listed as extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The rating gradates down to abnormally dry in the southern reaches of the basin. Precipitation is now around the 180 day mean for the southern reaches of the basin and around 2.0 inches below the 180 day mean for the northern reaches of the basin.
Current frost depths around the basin range from 20 to 40 inches and soil moisture conditions are still dry. The current flow for the Mississippi River at St. Paul MN is near 3000 cfs. The mean flow for February is 4600 cfs and for March is 11000 cfs. The all time low flow for February is 1400 cfs and for March is 1800 cfs. Flow period of record is 1892 to 2005.
Mississippi River from Lake City MN to Lock/Dam 10 at Guttenberg IA: The two storm events of the past week have increased the snow water equivalent (SWE) across this reach of the Mississippi drainage. Current model states indicate SWE increased to the 2.0 to 4.0 inch range, and both the upper and lower soil zones are shown as saturated. Tributary stream flow is classified as normal to above normal since last October. For most of the area the Drought Monitor indicates Abnormally Dry to Normal conditions. Frost depths currently range between 1 and 2 feet.
The current ice thickness on Lake Pepin is 13.0 to 15.0 inches. Further downstream at Alma, WI there is no ice. At Trempealeau WI about 15.0 inches of ice is currently reported to extend 10 miles upstream and downstream. Lock and Dam 8 at Geno WI reports about 11.0 inches of ice in the pool. Mainstem river low flows have been a concern to navigation since early last Fall. Thecurrent flow for the Mississippi River at Winona MN is near 19000 cfs. The mean flow for February is 15700 cfs and for March is 30300 cfs. The all time low flow for February is 7900 cfs and for March is 9000 cfs. Flow period of record is 1928 to 2006.
Mississippi River from Lock/Dam 11 at Dubuque IA to Dam 22 at Saverton MO: The biggest change in this reach is many of the main tributaries to the Mississippi in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have gained significant snowpack from the two storm events that occurred during the past couple of weeks. Stream flows are near normal at most locations according to the USGS.
There still is a significant amount of ice in the northern pools of this reach at Dams 10 through 13 where the latest reports are in the 10.0 to 12.0 inch range. Also, 100 percent coverage of 3.0 inches of ice is still being reported at Dam 19 where ice had piled up and caused some problems over the last couple of months.
Snow depths in this reach vary from zero to 3 inches in the south below Davenport to 4 to 7 inches in the north near Dubuque. Model states are moderately wet, due mainly to the last two storms in late February and early March
The current flow for the Mississippi River at Clinton, IA is near 32000 cfs. The mean flow for February is 28000 cfs and for March is 50000 cfs. The all time low flow for February is 15000 cfs and for March is 17000 cfs. Flow period of record is 1873 to 2005.Mississippi River from Louisiana MO to Chester IL: The late February and early March winter/rain storms over the entire NCRFC area have done a great deal to alleviate low flow for the Mississippi River in this reach. The storms added an average of 2.0 to 4.0 inches within the upstream drainage, which will help maintain the flows required for navigation. Recent rainfall has also allowed the Missouri to temporarily contribute above normal flows. However most of the snow pack for the Missouri has been accounted for in the temporarily elevated flows. The severe drought for the Missouri basin will continue to be a big factor in the St. Louis low flow situation despite the recent storms. This along with the dry upper Mississippi conditions, although improved from the recent snow will have an impact in the coming months without above normal precipitation to alleviate the moderate drought now. The local soil moisture for the upper and lower zones are saturated.
The current flow for the Mississippi River at St. Louis MO is near 240000 cfs, but without additional runoff will fall to 180000 by mid week. The mean flow for February is 146000 cfs and for March is 228000 cfs. The all time low flow for February is 49000 cfs and for March is 75000 cfs. Flow period of record is 1861 to 2005.
NCRFC Winter Outlook 2007 Season
- February 21, 2007 - First Outlook with Probabilistic Products issued by NCRFC for NWS Forecast Offices
- February 23, 2007 - Forecast Offices issue Public Forecasts (optional)
- March 7, 2007 - Second Outlook with Probabilistic Products issued by NCRFC for NWS Forecast Offices
- March 9, 2007 - Forecast Offices issue Public Forecasts
- March 19-23, 2007 - National Flood Safety Awareness Week