Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Dry Ahead

The funny looking graphic above is a mosaic of computer graphics from the NOAA/NWS Climate Prediction Center. (CPC).  The CPC churns out four key products for both temperature and precipitation (AKA: rain).

They are forecasts for the 6-10 day, 8-14 day, one month and three month time frames.  We produced this mosaic simply so you can get the drift of the next three months at a glance.  The darker the orange-reddish colors above, the more above normal (AKA: Hotter) CPC thinks it will be in each time frame.  This mosaic is arranged beginning with the 6-10 day forecast in the upper left and goes clockwise around to the three-month in lower left.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize CPC is trying to tell us it's probably going to be above normal temps through September.

Now take a look at the graphic below.  It shows CPC's thoughts on precipitation during each of the same time frames.  Um...sure looks like is going to tend to be below normal water coming down from the sky.  The brownish color represents CPC's prognostication for below normal precipitation in each of the periods.  We changed the file titles so they are easier to read below each component of the mosaic.

Bottom Line: CPC thinks it's going to be Hot Dry Ahead from now through September.  What does this mean for The Salmon River?  Stream flows will now trend downward and possibly might drop at a steeper than normal rate of seasonal decline.  Meanwhile, the forests will tend to dry out faster.  The typical onset of summer forest fires might be a tad bit earlier.  However, the real danger is that if CPC is correct, the forest fire season might be more intense than normal and might last longer than normal.  Note that the key word here is "might."  Whenever it comes to predicting weather and water, prudent readers will take such prognostications with a mighty big grain of salt.

For what it's worth, we've been watching CPC predictions since BTI (Before The Internet).  CPC's computers play the odds and on balance CPC's predictions will tend to be more accurate over time than any other source we've ever found over the past 30 years.  If you're going to bet on the long-range weather, CPC is the way to bet.

Click here to go to CPC's fine website.

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