CW3E participates in California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Workshop: Water Year 2019: Feast or Famine?

December 10, 2018

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) sponsored the “Water Year 2019: Feast or Famine?” workshop on December 5, 2018 at the UC-Irvine Beckman Center. The workshop was organized by the Water Education Foundation, in partnership with CW3E/UCSD-Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The goal of the workshop was to communicate the importance of Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) forecasting of atmospheric rivers and their associated precipitation over the Western U.S. region. The information that was presented at the meeting was largely funded by DWR.

The workshop began with a presentation by Jeanine Jones, the Interstate Resources Manager at California DWR, who gave an overview of the challenges associated with S2S forecasting of precipitation, the potential impacts of prolonged drought if WY 2019 has a similar dry signal to WY 2018. Dr. Duane Waliser, Chief Scientist and Senior Research Scientist at NASA JPL, followed this with a presentation describing national and international research on predicting precipitation weeks to months in advance. Dr. Ben Hatchett (Western Regional Climate Center) and Dr. Jon Rutz (Western Region Headquarters, National Weather Service) then gave presentations detailing the challenges and substantial variability associated with using the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as a predictor for western U.S. precipitation, and the skill of present National Weather Service outlooks, respectively. Dr. Hatchett also gave a presentation later in the day on preliminary work in forecasting precipitation in the Colorado River Basin region.

Dr. Mike Anderson, the state climatologist at DWR, gave a thorough overview of the investments DWR has made in improving forecasts of precipitation at all time scales. Dr. Mike DeFlorio, researcher at CW3E/UCSD-Scripps and former postdoctoral researcher at NASA JPL, then described one such investment, an effort to produce experimental S2S forecasts of atmospheric river activity (a joint effort between CW3E-UCSD Scripps and NASA JPL). Dr. Peter Gibson, postdoctoral researcher at NASA JPL, followed this with an overview of another such investment to study experimental forecasts of winter blocking/ridging conditions at S2S leads over the North Pacific/Western U.S. region.

The workshop concluded with final thoughts from Dr. Mike Anderson on what we can say going forward regarding Water Year 2019, and the uncertainties associated with forecasts of precipitation on S2S timescales in this region.

From left: Dr. Peter Gibson (NASA JPL), Dr. Duane Waliser (NASA JPL), Jeanine Jones (California DWR), Dr. Bin Guan (NASA JPL), and Dr. Mike Deflorio (CW3E).

CW3E Postdoctoral Scholar Mike DeFlorio discusses his research focused on experimental S2S forecasts of atmospheric river activity.