New NOAA research is showing we can predict snow levels in the mountains of the West in March some eight months in advance. This prediction can be down to the scale of a mountain range, which will improve regional water forecasts.
All regions and economic sectors in the United States depend on adequate and reliable water supplies. Too much or too little water can endanger the health and welfare of citizens and businesses. Driven by feedback from water resource managers, federal agencies and others, NOAA and partners have developed the Water Resources Dashboard: a one-stop website for relevant water data on drought, flooding, precipitation, climate and other measures.
California’s ongoing extreme drought must be a lesson for managing water in a warmer, more densely populated world, says a team of NOAA and University of California climatologists and hydrologists in an essay this week in Nature.
Scientists at the Army Corps of Engineers, Environment Canada, and NOAA recently documented a record-setting surge in water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron that began in January 2013, and has continued through November 2014. The United States and Canadian federal agencies expect water levels to stay near or above average on all of the Great Lakes over the next six months.
Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities, according to the new report, “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands upon an initial report released in 2008.
With NOAA funding, Ben Koziol, a CIRES researcher in NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, and partners, have built OpenClimateGIS, a new tool that will aid resource managers and others in the interpretation of climate data at the regional level. Today, Koziol and his collaborator, University of Michigan professor Richard Rood, will attend the launch of the White House’s Climate Data Initiative. Their new software, still in development, is showing promise for serving many sectors, including storm water planning (sewers get overwhelmed by intense rainfalls, which are on the rise in some areas) and emergency planning around dangerous heat waves (also on the rise in some areas).
While people along our nation’s coast experience rising sea levels, residents along the Great Lakes – the Earth’s largest lake system – are adapting to the opposite problem: chronic low water levels and a receding shoreline.
In a perspective now running in Science magazine, Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says “the record low water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron in the winter of 2012 to 2013 raise important questions about the driving forces behind water level fluctuations and how water resource management planning decisions can be improved.”
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.