85th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 12 January 2005: 9:00 AM
Analysis of Precipitation Variability and Meteorological Drought in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin
Gloria Arrocha, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; and P. Ruscher
The water flowing through Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River (ACF) River basin is used by several cities, industries, and farms, and for wastewater dilution, navigation for barge traffic, recreational boating and fishing, wildlife conservation and power generation. Droughts result in adverse effects for water users in this basin. For example, the drought of 1980-1981 caused a reduction in hydroelectric power generation, the curtailment of navigation, reduced lake levels for recreation, and restrictions on lawn watering and other water uses, according to U. S. Army Corps of Engineer reports. Besides, recent water-use conflicts between the states over which the ACF River Basin flows have made clear how important it is to monitor weather effects on stream levels. This study collects and analyzes cooperative and first-order precipitation observations of stations within the ACF river basin in order to assess significant droughts experienced in the past. Observed and replaced missing data went all the way back to 1895, giving the study a long period of time to analyze precipitation climatology. The main emphasis will be to describe the ACF river basinís precipitation patterns for the last century. This includes a climatology definition or normal annual precipitation value for each station in the basin from 1931 to 1980. The final result will show how these stations patterns differ or relate throughout the basin. We hope to gain a perspective on the frequency and nature of drought in the ACF basin, in order to help inform the debate and controversy about water use. In summary, basin-wide prolonged droughts of several years duration are frequent and are likely to significantly affect long-term decisions regarding water allocations in the region. There are serious political and legal repercussions that will soon be discussed in Federal courts that will affect users in three states, as well as stakeholders in industries along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

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