Drought news: Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment for Colorado and the Upper Colorado River Region #codrought

wyutcoprecipitationjanuary2013.jpg

Click on the thumbnail graphic for the precipitation summary. Click here to read all the summaries from the Colorado Climate Center.

Meanwhile, NIDIS funding is up in the air out in Washington D.C. Here’s a report from Brett Walton writing for Circle of Blue. Here’s an excerpt:

…because of budget cuts and the uncertainty from not even passing a budget for fiscal year 2013, the U.S. government is hindering the ability of its own science agencies to collect the basic information used by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), a federal warning system that predicts and responds to drought. Instead, Congress is chipping away at the program’s foundation — the hydrological data on snowpack and river flows that makes drought analysis possible — at the same time that legislators are clamoring for systems that better prepare the nation for climate change.

“It’s hard to analyze data you don’t have. Obviously more could be done with more resources,” said Tony Willardson, executive director of the Western States Water Council. “NIDIS is a very important tool for evaluating the impacts of drought. It’s what we’ve been looking for, for a long time, as a clearinghouse of drought information.”

Willardson is not alone. Water managers and environmental groups across the country rely on NIDIS, which is overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), for climate and river forecasts. Even the most recent National Climate Assessment, a draft of which was released in January, stated that adaptation to climate change would require better coordination between local, state, tribal, and federal partners, which is one of NIDIS’s central goals.

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