U s drought highlights since october 2004
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U.S Drought Highlights Since October 2004 PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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U.S Drought Highlights Since October 2004. Douglas Le Comte NOAA/CPC 30 th Annual Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop October 24-28, 2005. Outline. Drought Highlights —Southwest Alleviation, Northwest Development, and Midwest Summer Development Drought Forecasts —How are we doing?.

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U.S Drought Highlights Since October 2004

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U.S Drought Highlights Since October 2004

Douglas Le Comte


30th Annual Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop

October 24-28, 2005


  • Drought Highlights—Southwest Alleviation, Northwest Development, and Midwest Summer Development

  • Drought Forecasts—How are we doing?

What A Difference A Season Made in the West!

October vs April Drought

Water Year Precipitation

Snow Water Content April 2005

Impressive Snowpack on Snowbird November 7, 2004

A pretty good omen that

the 2004-05 snow season

would be extraordinary!


Expected range

of SSTs



Although El Nino’s are generally

associated with improved drought

conditions in the U.S. Southwest,

this is by no means assured. The best

odds for improvement come with

stronger events (SST anomalies

over +1.5 deg. C).

Streamflow Forecasts April 1, 2005

Spring-Summer Changes

April vs July 2005

Changes to October 4, 2005

August vs October 2005

October 4 vs October 11 2005

The Seasonal Drought Outlooks

Selected Drought Outlook Tools

  • 2-Week Soil Moisture

  • Seasonal Constructed Analog Soil Forecasts

  • NCDC Palmer Drought Amelioration Probability Maps

CPC 2-Wk Soil Moisture Forecast



Constructed Analog Soil Moisture USA



NCDC Drought Amelioration Probabilities

How Are We Doing?

How Did We Do With the Western Drought?

Too cautious

in September!

Finally got

it right in Dec!

Time Series of Verification Scores

Mean Pct Correct 59%

Mean Persistence Score 45%

Selected Future Improvements

  • Better seasonal temp/precip forecasts thanks to new consolidation tool

  • Better seasonal soil moisture forecasts from NLDAS projects (Univ. of WA, Princeton, NCEP)

  • Research leading to improved understanding of the underlying causes of drought (e.g., air-sea and ground-air interactions)

Parting Wisdom

  • “If you’re going to predict, predict often. As long as you keep updating your prediction, people forget your last prediction.”

    Milton Friedman

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