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No Rain – My Shot of the Day – June 4, 2013

no rain

It has just simply stopped raining.

My buddy John Fleck reports that water supplies are the worst ever seen:

With the preliminary April 1 runoff forecast numbers in hand, this is “the worst year ever” on the Rio Grande, according to Phil King, New Mexico State University professor and the water management adviser to the Elephant Butte Irrigation District. “Ever” in this case translates to a century of water management on the river system through modern New Mexico.

We’ve got extreme fire danger ever single day and two big fires burning nearby out of control.

“I’m 51 years old. I was born here, and I’ve never lived anywhere else,” he told me. “And this is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’s crazy dry.”


Starting in 2011, he said, his land has gotten about 5½ inches of moisture on average.

Thats down from 12 inches. Its like… no rain. And fires literally surround us.

Tres Lagunas Fire at nearly 8,000 acres:

On the west flank today crews will hold the fire north of Indian Creek Road, scout for possible direct and indirect line construction locations, and burnout if necessary. Structure protection will be provided in the Holy Ghost summer home area. On the north side firefighters will scout for indirect line construction locations south of Forest Road 646. Crews on the east side will keep fire west of Forest Road 92, and construct indirect dozer line as needed. Along the southern edge, scouting will determine indirect line construction opportunities from NM Highway 63 to the Viveash burn scar. Burnout operations will be initiated if necessary.

Structure protection crews will patrol for spot fires near structures, complete sprinkler installation in Holy Ghost subdivision, complete structure protection for Gonzales Ranch, and continue structure protection activities in lower Pecos Canyon. Crews will also hold spot fires in the Viveash Burn area, continue structure protection in Cow Creek, and provide engine support for the east side.

The status of evacuations has not changed. To date, no structures have been burned.

no rain

and the Thompson Ridge Fire:

The wildfire north of Jemez Springs swelled in the last 24 hours to nearly 2,000 acres. Fire officials are blaming strong winds and dry fuels for the Thompson Ridge Fire growing to more than 1,700 acres.     

About 50 homes are still under evacuation orders. One home was slightly damaged by the fire. 

West of the 100th meridian, from Mexico to Canada, the past 100 days in north America have been extraordinarily dry. No rain. Only a small slice of northern Colorado has escaped. On top of that snowpack is ridiculously low, which bodes ill for summer stream flow and water supplies. The Climate Prediction Center released its forecasts for June July and August last week, stating that the west is likely to be hotter and drier than normal. Typically, when that happens a dome of heat builds up over us and then spreads out over a significant portion of the country. So…in a word, we’re all screwed. This summer will be as brutal as the last.

The latest drought monitor map shows how bad it is.

Droughts are expected to increase say the climate change models. Hot and dry subtropical high pressure areas are expected to expand. Long periods of drought are actually common in the southwest – sometimes lasting up to 30-40 years. This is thought to be caused by a process where the Atlantic warms and the Pacific cools and the atmospheric circulation becomes stuck. In northern Europe that resulted in the so-called Medieval Warm Period:

the Medieval Warm Period has known causes which explain both the scale of the warmth and the pattern. It has now become clear to scientists that the Medieval Warm Period occurred during a time which had higher than average solar radiation and less volcanic activity (both resulting in warming). New evidence is also suggesting that changes in ocean circulation patterns played a very important role in bringing warmer seawater into the North Atlantic. This explains much of the extraordinary warmth in that region. These causes of warming contrast significantly with today’s warming, which we know cannot be caused by the same mechanisms.

Here it resulted in mass starvation, incredible violence, cannibalism and the abandonment of such iconic placers as Chaco and Mesa Verde.

no rain

A tendency towards long-term drought coupled with negative climate change impacts aren’t two combinations we want to see.

I wonder if its time I start fattening up the scrawny old man living across the street.


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