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Snowpack

Mar 25, 2018


  • RiHo08




Looking at the graph, the super snow pack of the early 1980's was enough to get California through the ensuing droughts relieved by the 2016/2017 snowpack, just a year ago. Today, we have a snow pack yet to be assessed, and I'm not sure on which date since one story in SFGate says April 15 and this story says April 1st. In any case, shrill cries of impending doom, ie catastrophic drought are just scare mongering. The reservoirs are filled to slightly above average (except Oroville awaiting stability testing) water levels and will fill to maximum quickly with the spring runoff. Trying to predict future snowpack even a year ahead is fruitless as this years snowpack is already above expectation from last year. The models on which the snowpack predictions are based have been wrong and have been such as all models are wrong. These models are not even useful. The current suit of weather and climate models are no exception. If you want to see prediction model scatter, look at NOAA's prediction models for ENSO (La Nina, El Nino). The ENSO models are used to predict precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere. Currently, not fit for purpose.



 




  • theantireagan




@RiHo08 



You're mostly wrong. 



"the super snow pack of the early 1980's" was ONE YEAR'S rainy season. Basically, the snow pack DOESN'T accumulate year-to-year. Reservoirs are designed to hold more than a year's worth of water. 



"The reservoirs are filled to slightly above average ... and will fill to maximum quickly with the spring runoff." 



Snow pack is ADDITIONAL storage - up to 30\%. Snow is supposed to melt gradually, filling reservoirs while replacing outflows. THAT is the danger of warming - reduced effective storage from snow melting faster than anticipated; increased evapotranspiration losses. 



Yes, predicting precip for a coming year is mostly guesswork. But, it's INFORMED and continuously improving guesswork. 



ENSO and La Nina are METEOROLOGICAL conditions - a distribution of ocean temperatures (not just SST) in the Equator, and their effect on, and interaction with, winds (the atmosphere). ENSO is predicted using ONI - a "three-month running-mean SST departures in the Niño 3.4 region." Note the difference between the predictive index and what ENSO actually is. 



As meteorological conditions, predicting an ENSO or La Nina is NOT the same as predicting their observed effects on weather. 



You do know that climate AVERAGES out the chaos of weather AND that climate probabilities are what factor into weather models? 



Try the cautionary statements and 2017-18 predictions, here: 



https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/winter-coming-noaa\%E2\%80\%99s-2017-2018-winter-outlook 



Explanations and "defense" of ENSO: 



https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/challenges-enso-today\%E2\%80\%99s-climate-models 



https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/el-nino/



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