COLUMNISTS

Noon: Predictions don’t match real-world data

Marita Noon
On Twitter @EnergyRabbit
Marita Noon

On May 20, the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced that the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, reached an all-time low.

Brad Udall, a senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University, and brother to former Colorado Senator Mark Udall and cousin to New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, declared: “This problem is not going away and it is likely to get worse, perhaps far worse, as climate change unfolds.” According to the Desert Sun, he added: “Unprecedented high temperatures in the basin are causing the flow of the river to decline.”

Udall’s statements coincide with the climate crisis narrative his better-known family members espouse, they do not, however, according New Mexico hydrologist Mike Wallace, reflect actual temperature and stream flow records in the Colorado River Basin.

Both Wallace and Udall claim to be experts in the hydrology and climatology of the western U.S. However, Wallace told me: “I’m the only hydrologist who is publishing moisture and temperature forecasts in reaches of the Upper Colorado River, years in advance, with consistently high accuracy.”

Wallace pioneered the discovery that moisture patterns in his area of study — which overlaps Udall’s — are deeply anchored to ocean indexes and sunspot numbers. He boldly asserts: “There is no correlation of CO2 emissions history to the moisture time series that I have evaluated. Also, for the same stations that I review there is little or no correlation of temperature to streamflow. Rather, ocean drivers can account for changes in temperature and moisture in this region, and those drivers appear to be driven themselves by solar cycles.”

While Udall believes temperatures are rising and causing reduced streamflow into Lake Mead, Wallace disputes the premise. Wallace says he has three years of successful forecast exercises to back up his claim that, in his study areas, “temperatures are hardly trending in any direction and, in any case, those temperatures are not correlating to streamflow.”

Wallace’s study regions include many of the tributaries of the Colorado River such as the San Juan River and the Green River—both sourced in the Rocky Mountains. He says: “There haven’t been any unusually low streamflow rates or unusually high temperatures in my area of focus. In fact, flows are going up, not down, compared to two and three years ago and some temperatures are actually trending down over the same recent time frame.”

Using his proprietary method (patent pending) with more than 200 accurate forecasts, and applying to areas near the nexus of the Upper Rio Grande and the Upper Colorado Rivers, Wallace is projecting 3 to 4 years of generally increased water flows, followed by 3 to 4 years of generally decreasing moisture (drought). He posits that his innovations help municipalities, flood control authorities, irrigation districts, and resource management agencies better plan for future moisture and temperature conditions.

If Wallace is correct, and he has a successful climate forecast record to back up his projections, Udall can’t also be right. Wallace believes most of Udall’s climate assertions, such as the claim that regional temperatures explain everything about the drought, are too simplistic.  He also expresses concern regarding Udall’s use of the term “drought.” “To accept those Lake Mead statements as factual,” Wallace said, “anything short of an epic flooding event, must be an epic drought event.”

The natural processes that Wallace has distilled down to a working forecast system, don’t, in any way, appear to fit the crisis narrative that the Udall and many climate “authorities” perpetuate. Do we really need more funding and greater public anxiety to fix something that, at least, in the western U.S., appears to wholly be explained by natural cycles?

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy. She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.