Wednesday, 15 May 2002: 5:00 PM
Long-range climate and streamflow forecasts: bridging the gaps between science and applications
Application of climate forecasts to water management problems is frequently cited as an important justification for climate research. Achieving this goal requires not only scientific advances, but also technical feasibility studies, demonstration of techniques in an operational context, and ongoing technology transfer and/or outreach efforts. The NOAA funded Center for Study of the Earth System at the University of Washington has developed research and outreach programs designed to address each of these steps. We discuss in particular development and outreach efforts associated with two experimental ensemble streamflow forecasting techniques - one in which the ensembles are derived by resampling form the historic record, and another in which the ensembles are produced by a global coupled land-atmosphere model. The resulting technical opportunities for management of the PNW water systems in three areas: hydropower production, flood protection, and water supply are each briefly discussed. To help promote understanding of these new forecast products, a series of workshops have been conducted each year in the fall at several locations in the PNW. While the process of implementing new streamflow forecasting methods is time consuming, after four years of these outreach efforts, there are clear signs that experimental long-range streamflow forecasts are gaining acceptance in the PNW water resource management community.