something I noted in an earlier blog. Yes, they have moved us from extreme drought to severe drought over the last month, but I would argue there is no drought at this point. The Drought Monitor index is a subjective mix of objective information, impacts, and whatever else the analyst wants to include. Subjective is not good.
But you decide for yourself.
Let's start with precipitation. The past two weeks? Above normal for the entire state, and HUGELY above normal over the Cascades and western Washington.
But drought might reflect the total winter precipitation so far you might argue. Reasonable. So here is the precipitation for the past two months. Nearly the entire state is still above normal, except for some small areas in eastern WA that are minimally below normal. We have been wetter than normal.
What about the famous Palmer Drought Severity Index, an objective measure of long-term drought, encompassing both precipitation and temperature. No drought indicated and very wet conditions over western WA and Oregon.
What about snowpack? There have been lots of scary stores about snow droughts for this winter and the like. Most of the state has either near normal or above normal snowpack now, except a small portion of the western slopes of the Cascades. There is no snow drought right now.
NOAA has an OBJECTIVE blend of short-term drought indicators (see below). No drought.
What about the critical reservoirs of the Yakima River Basin, which supports a huge amount of agriculture in eastern WA? As shown below, WAY above normal.
It seems to me that saying that any portion of Washington State is in drought is inaccurate. Some groups are paradoxically calling this a wet drought. Sort of like calling someone a thin fat person. Some advocacy groups are using this term and claiming it may be a sign of global climate change.
This is not unlike some folks that were claiming that cold waves in the East Coast were the result of global warming. Global warming is a serious issue and advocacy group antics with wet droughts and global warming fueled cold waves are not helping. They detract from scientific credibility.
And this week I experienced the negative effects of Drought Monitor hype on scientific work.
For the past several days, I have been at the American Geophysical Association (AGU) meeting and I have attended several sessions dealing with drought and hydrology. One presentation attempted to verify their hydrological model against the official U.S. Drought Monitor, but found their objective model was much wetter. You can guess why this is true. The Drought Monitor exaggerates drought and does not pull areas from drought status fast enough. And it is subjective and includes impacts.
GOOD NEWS ON KPLU
The University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University have agreed to allow the community a chance to collect the funds needed to make KPLU an independen public radio station. They listened to the vast KPLU listenership, which was dismayed that a successful and valued local news and music outlet was being dismantled without public input.
There has been a lot of press coverage of this of late and detailed information at: savekplu.org
Many of you are interested in contributing to building an independent KPLU. It will take at least a few weeks before the mechanisms to do so are established, but in the meantime it would be very useful if you could express you interest in making a contribution and, if comfortable, estimate your future gift, by sending an email with the information to:
Grace Lynn Scott, KPLU's Gifts Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can call her as well.