Event Title

Could the 2012 extreme drought have been anticipated?

Presenter Information

S-Y Simon Wang

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

1-4-2014 6:55 PM

End Date

1-4-2014 7:00 PM

Description

The 2012-2013 drought may not have been predictable as based on current schemes employed for such purposes, but it may have been anticipatable due to knowledge of key precursors such as favorable (remote) SST patterns, and reduced regional soil moisture and winter snow packs. A working group was assembled under the NASA Energy and Water cycle Study (NEWS) to examine the 2012 drought. A recent NOAA report analyzing the drought of 2012 in the central US has concluded that the drought was not inherently predictable, representing a very anomalous atmospheric circulation pattern. It is important to recognize that this ‘predictability' is based on what happened in the atmosphere, and further, depends on the capabilities of the predictive schemes currently employed. The current prediction schemes emphasize the role of the large-scale atmospheric circulation, but such schemes generally lack full consideration of the local surface state such as soil moisture and snow pack. Our hypothesis is that even if one cannot predict the future atmospheric circulation patterns with much certainty for a given year, we may still be able to make some assessment of whether or not a drought may be likely to occur. As precursors such as soil moisture and snowpack become important in enhancing and prolonging the drought as it occurs, the actual drought that does subsequently occur will depend closely in magnitude and duration on the atmospheric circulation that unfolds.

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Apr 1st, 6:55 PM Apr 1st, 7:00 PM

Could the 2012 extreme drought have been anticipated?

Eccles Conference Center

The 2012-2013 drought may not have been predictable as based on current schemes employed for such purposes, but it may have been anticipatable due to knowledge of key precursors such as favorable (remote) SST patterns, and reduced regional soil moisture and winter snow packs. A working group was assembled under the NASA Energy and Water cycle Study (NEWS) to examine the 2012 drought. A recent NOAA report analyzing the drought of 2012 in the central US has concluded that the drought was not inherently predictable, representing a very anomalous atmospheric circulation pattern. It is important to recognize that this ‘predictability' is based on what happened in the atmosphere, and further, depends on the capabilities of the predictive schemes currently employed. The current prediction schemes emphasize the role of the large-scale atmospheric circulation, but such schemes generally lack full consideration of the local surface state such as soil moisture and snow pack. Our hypothesis is that even if one cannot predict the future atmospheric circulation patterns with much certainty for a given year, we may still be able to make some assessment of whether or not a drought may be likely to occur. As precursors such as soil moisture and snowpack become important in enhancing and prolonging the drought as it occurs, the actual drought that does subsequently occur will depend closely in magnitude and duration on the atmospheric circulation that unfolds.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2014/2014Posters/3