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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:23 pm 
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Hemlock Ridge
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https://lmgtfy.com/?q=Palmer+Index+and+stream+flow

Re who cares what happens in six months? That would be the agencies. From h3re, all that's asked of me is to flush and stuff. I don't really go out and fetch water, ya know. So society has set up the agencies. [/NYK]


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:24 pm 
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Rodger's Ridge
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SurfnSnowboard wrote:
Quote:
When discussing drought it is best to stick to the science and the people who are educated and work in it.


Quote:

I do ignore the Palmer Index


Which is it? Trust the experts or trust the experts only when they agree with you?

Drought isn't about what might happen in 6 months. It's about current conditions, that's what you want to ignore. It's not about whether aquifers have been replenished or not.


The Palmer Index has a lot of inconsistencies and limitations and I haven't pulled this statement out of my hat. There are a number of scientific papers available on the internet that go into considerable detail about the biases and shortcomings of the Palmer Index. However, none of those papers stated it as succinctly as the USGS did on their website (USGS FAQ's: Floods & Droughts - What is the Palmer Drought Severity Index?). Here is the key quote from that the USGS site":

"The advantage to the Palmer Index that it is standardized to local climate, so it can be applied to any part of the country to demonstrate relative drought or rainfall conditions. The negative is that it is not as good for short term forecasts, and is not particularly useful in calculating supplies of water locked up in snow, so it works best east of the Continental Divide." (Emphasis added by me.)

Now I have previously mentioned that 60% of the water consumed in California is produced from the Sierra snowpack. Water supply forecasters, water managers and professional land management managers (in my case a retired one) ignored it because it did not correlate to the most important indicators of drought, those being: how much water will flow in streams, how soon will the runoff peak, how soon will the ground surface become dry enough to allow construction and maintenance activities on roads and other facilities, how quickly will 1000 hour wildland fire fuels dry out. The 1000 hour fuels are those in the 3-8" size class and there is a 1000 hour lag between changes in surrounding moisture and the resulting change in the water content in the fuel.

Also realize that the Klamath River drainage does not provide any portion of that 60% of the water consumed in California as it is located in the Cascades, not the Sierra. The northern terminus of the Sierra Nevada and southern terminus of the Cascades is located near the small California town of Chester, west of Susanville.

To most of us it is obvious that a drought cannot be said to have ended unless a long term average runoff has occurred or can be reasonably predicated to occur. Drought is all about water supply, not about a couple of months of storms.

I did not want to have to ask, but I see no alternative but to bring up qualifications. What is your background and education in hydrology and natural resource management? How many years have you spent on the ground managing the effects of precipitation such as planning maintenance and construction of public land roads and facilities? How many years have you spent on the ground getting your fingernails dirty opening and closing roads, campgrounds, entrance stations, sewer plants, lift stations, wells, leach fields, cleaning culverts and drainage ditches and plowing roads and shoveling snow? How many wildland fires have you been on? How many times have you taken instrument readings at official NWS weather stations? How many hours of formal classroom training do you have on subjects such a wildland fuel science and wildland fire behavior? How many pairs of boots have you worn out (after numerous rebuilds) have you worn out walking in the mountain ranges of the west? How many thousands of miles have your cross country skied in the mountains of the west and, in particular, the Sierra Nevada? How many thousands of miles have you backpacked in the mountains of the west? How many hours have you spent in meetings and on field trips with USGS, CA Department of Water Resources and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power professionals. How many times have you drilled that pipe into the snow and weighed it? How many times have you worked with National Resource and Conservation Service (previously the Soil Conservation Service) hydrologists to relocate a snow course, because the old one, with decades of data was located inside a wilderness (not permitted under the federal Wilderness act of 1964) and required skiing through multiple major avalanche zones? We had to find a new snow course whose data correlated to the old non compliant and dangerous one. How many hours of classroom and field training have you had in tree pathology and how many tens of thousands of trees have you evaluated for the potential of falling on the public in developed recreation sites and maintained roads? Hazard tree evaluation is one method of putting your finger on the pulse of drought.

I know the answer to those questions for me, given my Bachelor of Science in Forestry (Northern Arizona University), 18 credits toward a masters degree (Clemson University), 25 years of employment with the U.S. Forest Service on four national forests in four western U.S. states, over 110 wildland fires, studying fire ecology since my senior year of high school (1968), 1900 miles of cross country skiing on the job . . . . . I will stop there.

I read between the lines of your comments that: a. you live in a major metro area of southern California. b. have no formal education in a natural resource science. c. have not worked on the ground in the elements applying natural resource science d. have worked in "the great indoors" e. have done a lot of online searches on hydrology and f. really like to argue theoretically. If I'm at least partially accurate you do remind me of patients trying to tell the doctor how to do their job.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:22 pm 
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Dragon's Back
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How much fun... pray for snow :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:10 pm 
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Rodger's Ridge
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You want to change the definition of "drought" to mean possible future impacts and aquifer replenishment. The government experts don't agree with you as I've already demonstrated a few times. After this major AR is factored in there will be less of the state impacted by the severe drought but I'm sure you'll claim it didn't have any effect.

I suppose you should fire off a letter to the drought experts at drought.gov that they shouldn't use the Palmer Drought Index for states in the West. After all you're the expert!


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:45 am 
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Cornice Bowl
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Well - there is more than one definition for drought.

While in California we do depend on current rainfall (Meteorological) for the normal growth and health of native plants and animals and for recreation such as skiing or river rafting, we depend on stored water supplies (Hydrological) for agriculture and drinking.

Since a hydrological drought affects everyone and is a longer term view it is my opinion the one we should be more concerned about. Sierra gentleman did mention that even during wet years we are pumping the slow filling aquifers, this is due to the fact that after the expense of establishing the pumping the water is basically free. Out of sight out of mind does not mean there isn't a huge problem brewing. We can have a meteorological drought end in one season with the Hydrological drought still going strong.

Wikipedia says:
Quote:
As a drought persists, the conditions surrounding it gradually worsen and its impact on the local population gradually increases. People tend to define droughts in three main ways:

Meteorological drought is brought about when there is a prolonged time with less than average precipitation. Meteorological drought usually precedes the other kinds of drought.[37]

Agricultural droughts are droughts that affect crop production or the ecology of the range. This condition can also arise independently from any change in precipitation levels when soil conditions and erosion triggered by poorly planned agricultural endeavors cause a shortfall in water available to the crops. However, in a traditional drought, it is caused by an extended period of below average precipitation.[38]

Hydrological drought is brought about when the water reserves available in sources such as aquifers, lakes and reservoirs fall below the statistical average. Hydrological drought tends to show up more slowly because it involves stored water that is used but not replenished. Like an agricultural drought, this can be triggered by more than just a loss of rainfall. For instance, Kazakhstan was recently[when?] awarded a large amount of money by the World Bank to restore water that had been diverted to other nations from the Aral Sea under Soviet rule.[39] Similar circumstances also place their largest lake, Balkhash, at risk of completely drying out.[40]


NASA says:
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Hemlock Ridge
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Sierra Lady wrote:
not particularly useful in calculating supplies of water locked up in snow, so it works best east of the Continental Divide."
SurfnSnowboard wrote:
I suppose you should fire off a letter to the drought experts at drought.gov that they shouldn't use the Palmer Drought Index for states in the West. After all you're the expert!
Good grief, they already know.
PDSI does not handle frozen precipitation or frozen soils well.

Palmer Z Index does not handle frozen precipitation or frozen soils well.

[sc-PDSI] has the same issues in terms of time lag and frozen precipitation and frozen soils.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:20 pm 
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Rodger's Ridge
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Really shifty? You think the whole state is impacted by frozen precipitation. If anything that tells me that the PDSI might over estimate drought conditions in California not under report them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:56 pm 
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Hemlock Ridge
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Are you nuts? Why are you even asking me that when all I did was show that drought.gov is already on the same page as SG?

SF water: Hetch Hetchy
LA water: Owens Valley
Sacramento: I defer to whoever names rivers LOL


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:22 am 
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Stump Alley
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Interesting drought story...

"We’re entering the wet time of year, but the drought continues to transform communities around the state. And now, Santa Barbara is almost out.
Lake Cachuma, the county’s primary source of water for years, is at 7 percent of its capacity and is expected to go totally dry by the end of the year."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/us/ca ... &te=1&_r=0


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:41 pm 
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Rodger's Ridge
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Mammoth is about 50% of their season average precipitation with 22" since October (based on ski patrol data). Impressive start to the water year. This storm will be beneficial to southern Sierra locations that didn't receive much early season rain like northern sections of the state did over the past few months.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:24 am 
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Rodger's Ridge
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SurfnSnowboard wrote:
Mammoth is about 50% of their season average precipitation with 22" since October (based on ski patrol data). Impressive start to the water year. This storm will be beneficial to southern Sierra locations that didn't receive much early season rain like northern sections of the state did over the past few months.


Sierra Gentleman here. According to the LADWP website the Mammoth Pass snow course snow pillow there is 22% of a season long average water content in the snow and 69% of average to date as of 12-20-16.

https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp/aboutus/a-water/a-w-losangelesaqueduct/a-w-laa-snowsurvey

Rock Creek and Cottonwood are looking pretty good, but Rock Creek does not provide all that much runoff for the aqueduct. Cottonwood provides about 25% and Mammoth Pass another 25%.

Quote:
Drought isn't about what might happen in 6 months. It's about current conditions, that's what you want to ignore. It's not about whether aquifers have been replenished or not.


That isn't true as it doesn't even meet the basic common dictionary definition of a drought, which is: 1.
a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops. 2. an extended shortage.

The following comes from the National Drought Mitigation Center:

Quote:
What is Drought?

Drought is an insidious hazard of nature. It is often referred to as a "creeping phenomenon" and its impacts vary from region to region. Drought can therefore be difficult for people to understand. It is equally difficult to define, because what may be considered a drought in, say, Bali (six days without rain) would certainly not be considered a drought in Libya (annual rainfall less than 180 mm). In the most general sense, drought originates from a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time--usually a season or more--resulting in a water shortage for some activity, group, or environmental sector. Its impacts result from the interplay between the natural event (less precipitation than expected) and the demand people place on water supply, and human activities can exacerbate the impacts of drought.
(bold emphasis is mine)

A California Central Valley farmer looks at an entire season and how much water is going to be available in July, August, September and beyond. That water is generated, like 60% of what is consumed by all water consumers in the state of California, from the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. If we don't get sufficient snow we have a below average runoff or a deficiency in water flow. If we tell that farmer in July, that we have a below average snowpack it is little consolation to him that the Palmer Index, already considered by scientists to perform poorly in cases of snowpack water storage, showed no drought in the Klamath Basin in December. If the winter shuts off and the RRR sets up the Palmer Index will again show a drought. We have had times during the last five years that the Palmer Index has shown no drought in some river drainages, but water professionals have stated we are in a 5 year drought despite those times.

I will not call myself a "water and drought" expert, but I have a whole lot more knowledge and experience in it than you. I've learned from experts over a period of more than 40 years. I'm not ignoring anything scientific, but will likely be ignoring any additional posts on the subject. Disassociating water supply from the discussion of drought is so far from logic that it would seem like my words have no affect here.

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Last edited by Sierra Lady on Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:27 am 
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Rodger's Ridge
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Duplicate

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Last edited by Sierra Lady on Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:35 am 
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Rodger's Ridge
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.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:25 am 
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Kiwi Flat
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While it may seem like youre spitting in the wind here I think most of us enjoy reading it even if we dont stick our beak in. /mixed metaphors.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official: Brown Declares a Drought!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:46 pm 
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Rodger's Ridge
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In the news today:

Steady rain since the beginning of October has pulled 30% of the state — almost all areas of Northern California — out of drought conditions, according to National Weather Service and U.S. Drought Monitor reports.


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