92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
A Testbed for Climate and Streamflow Forecasting in the Colorado River Basin
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Andrew W. Wood, NOAA/NWS Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, Salt Lake City, UT; and K. Werner and M. Schmidt

The need for skillful climate forecasts from one season to two years lead time to support a variety of applications, and particularly for streamflow forecasting for water, energy and agricultural management, has been well documented. The Colorado River basin presents a challenge due to the limited forecast skill that can be harnessed from traditional sources (e.g., ENSO) even at shorter lead times for runoff-generating headwaters in the upper basin. Nonetheless, management and planning objectives related to the larger reservoirs that the US Bureau of Reclamation manages make use of projections out to two full years. A variety of statistical prediction techniques in the literature have shown promise for developing streamflow predictions based on climate system patterns and indices. To provide a pathway for evaluation, intercomparison and implementation of these or other techniques into Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) streamflow forecasts, CBRFC has created a research to operations testbed to focus research on critical watersheds in the upper Colorado River basin that influence basin-wide water management. The testbed provides observed climate data, river flows, and hydrology models as well as hindcasts for these locations that define the state of the practice for prediction in the Colorado River basin. This presentation summarizes testbed activities, participation by agency and academic partners, and future plans. 23-2011-->

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