The latest ENSO discussion is hot off the presses from the Climate Prediction Center

Mid-October 2013 plume of model ENSO predictions via  International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Mid-October 2013 plume of model ENSO predictions via International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Click here to read the discussion. Here’s an excerpt:

Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is expected to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014.

During November, ENSO-neutral persisted, as reflected by near-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. SST anomalies in all of the Niño regions were small, but showed increases in the Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 regions. The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) increased due to the eastward propagation of a downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave. This increased heat content reflects above-average subsurface temperatures across the Pacific. The wind anomalies remained small at lower and upper levels during the month. Equatorial convection was suppressed in the central equatorial Pacific and enhanced over Indonesia. Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic conditions reflect ENSO-neutral. The majority of model forecasts indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) will persist into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014. While current forecast probabilities are still greatest for ENSO-neutral by mid-summer, there is an increasing chance for the development of El Niño. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).

Colorado flood recovery updates #COflood

Flood damage Big Thompson Canyon September 2013 -- photo via Northern Water
Flood damage Big Thompson Canyon September 2013 — photo via Northern Water

Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

The Colorado flood recovery team continues to make progress in helping communities rebuild from the September floods. Here is an update of recovery efforts:

  • The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) contracted with a debris removal company to help residents in the Big Thompson Canyon dispose of certain materials removed from homes during flood cleanup efforts. The contractor is scheduled to remove debris during the weeks of Dec. 9 and Dec. 23. Residents in the area will be asked to place debris alongside the U.S. 34 right-of-way. For more information, residents can contact the CDOT flood information hotline at (720) 263-1589.
  • CDOT implemented flood mitigation measures for the Waldo Canyon fire burn scar along U.S. Highway 24 — including stabilizing slopes and creating sediment ponds. Boulder completed the “Left Hand Creek Flood Control Project” that included upgrading bridges and channel capacity to keep storm water in the channel and away from neighborhood homes.
  • The Boulder Creek Path, a heavily used commuting pathway will reopen this week, with only a small section from Pearl Parkway to Goose Creek Path, east of Foothills Parkway still closed.
  • With completion of major sewer line repairs, remaining areas in Estes Park have been removed from the “No-Flush Zone.”
  • Lyons elementary, middle school and senior high students are back in their schools this week. Some 700 students attended classes at the Main Street School in Longmont since the September flood.
  • Meanwhile, Reclamation has started moving water through the Adams Tunnel again. The pumps had been off since the flooding in September. Here’s a report from Leia Larsen writing for the Sky-Hi Daily News. Here’s an excerpt:

    The Bureau of Reclamation stopped pumping in mid-September after heavy rains in Estes Park and the Front Range. Crews were working to repair damage and dredge sediment loads from reservoirs caused by the ensuing floods in the Estes Park area. As of Wednesday, Nov. 27, the Bureau began running around 60 cubic feet per second through the tunnel. Most years, it runs around 550 cfs by mid-December to refill Horsetooth and Carter reservoirs. According to public information officer Kara Lamb, the Bureau of Reclamation is still hoping to meet that schedule this season.

    Currently, Lake Granby is at about 72 percent full.

    “We’re probably going to see that tick down a little bit as we starting running more (water) through the tunnel,” Lamb said. “But right now, Lake Granby is staying pretty even since we’re not taking that much.”

    Drought news: Improvement over southwest and south-central Colorado #COdrought

    US Drought Monitor for Colorado December 3, 2013
    US Drought Monitor for Colorado December 3, 2013

    From the National Weather Service Pueblo office:

    …IMPROVEMENT IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUES ACROSS SOUTHWEST
    AND SOUTH CENTRAL COLORADO…

    SYNOPSIS…

    NOVEMBER OF 2013 STARTED ON A WARM AND DRY NOTE ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO. A CHANGING WEATHER PATTERN THEN BROUGHT COOL AND WET WEATHER THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH…ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS AND THE SAN LUIS VALLEY. UNFORTUNATELY…MUCH OF THIS BENEFICIAL PRECIPITATION MISSED THE SOUTHEAST PLAINS…PERPETUATING THE DROUGHT…ESPECIALLY ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE LOWER ARKANSAS RIVER VALLEY.

    WITH THIS IN MIND…THE LATEST US DROUGHT MONITOR NOW INDICATES DROUGHT FREE CONDITIONS ACROSS MOST OF MINERAL COUNTY…AS WELL AS EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN RIO GRANDE COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN CONEJOS COUNTY. DROUGHT FREE CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE DEPICTED ACROSS LAKE COUNTY…EASTERN TELLER COUNTY…SOUTHWESTERN THROUGH EXTREME NORTHEASTERN EL PASO COUNTY…EASTERN FREMONT COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN PUEBLO COUNTY.

    ABNORMALLY DRY (D0) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE INDICATED ACROSS WESTERN FREMONT COUNTY…WESTERN TELLER COUNTY…SOUTH CENTRAL THROUGH NORTHEASTERN EL PASO COUNTY…NORTHWESTERN PUEBLO COUNTY…CUSTER COUNTY…WESTERN HUERFANO COUNTY AND WESTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY. ABNORMALLY DRY (D0) CONDITIONS ALSO REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS CHAFFEE COUNTY…SAGUACHE COUNTY…NORTHERN MINERAL COUNTY…THE REST OF RIO GRANDE AND CONEJOS COUNTIES…AS WELL AS ALAMOSA COUNTY AND COSTILLA COUNTY.

    MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) CONDITIONS REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS MOST OF THE REST OF EL PASO AND PUEBLO COUNTIES…THE REST OF HUERFANO COUNTY…CENTRAL LAS ANIMAS COUNTY AND MOST OF BACA COUNTY.

    SEVERE DROUGHT (D2) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE INDICATED ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN EL PASO COUNTY AND EXTREME EASTERN PUEBLO COUNTY…MOST OF THE REST OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY…NORTHWESTERN BACA
    COUNTY…EASTERN BENT COUNTY…PROWERS COUNTY AND EASTERN KIOWA COUNTY.

    EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS MOST OF CROWLEY COUNTY…WESTERN OTERO COUNTY…WESTERN BENT COUNTY…EXTREME NORTH CENTRAL LAS ANIMAS COUNTY…AND WESTERN AND CENTRAL KIOWA
    COUNTY.

    EXCEPTIONAL (D4) DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE ACROSS SOUTHEASTERN CROWLEY COUNTY…EASTERN OTERO COUNTY…SOUTHWESTERN KIOWA COUNTY AND EXTREME WESTERN BENT COUNTY.

    CSU, Noble Energy and DNR partner on groundwater monitoring project in the Wattenberg field

    Groundwater monitoring well
    Groundwater monitoring well

    From The Greeley Tribune (Sharon Dunn):

    Like the crime scene investigators on television, researchers in northern Colorado will be taking an intense look at water wells throughout the oil patch in a demonstration study in the coming months to determine changes in the water over time. Conducted through Colorado State University in partnership with Noble Energy, the Colorado Water Watch demonstration project will soon begin water table monitoring in test wells at roughly 10 Noble production sites in a real-time look at how the water changes.

    “It was conceived not so much as a research project but as a tool to provide information to the public,” said project lead researcher Ken Carlson, an associate professor Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU. “The oil and gas industry is taking the initiative here to provide some visibility.” Continue reading