Seasonal to Year-Two Colorado River Streamflow Prediction Workshop

Time Frame:            March 21-22, 2011

Motivation:   CBRFC, NIDIS, USBR, and others have documented a consistent need for 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.  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 USBR manages make use of projections out to two full years. To that end, USBR has funded ongoing research at three universities that has shown some promise for developing streamflow predictions based on seasonal climate indices such as the AMO and/or PDO. In addition to the USBR funded work, related efforts are proceeding at a few other universities and research centers.  A primary avenue for incorporating such research activities into water management is to evaluate and operationalize them into CBRFC streamflow forecasting efforts.  USBR and other agencies are unlikely to produce streamflow forecasts operationally, but rather depend on NOAA river forecast centers to provide forecasts that serve as input to their water operations and management activities. 

Expected Outcomes:

A workshop organized by CBRFC and USBR focusing on the transition of climate forecasting research toward operational use would serve three purposes:

1.     Describe the approaches and datasets currently in place at CBRFC and USBR for making seasonal to year-two water supply predictions and applying them for water management.

2.     Provide a collaborative forum to discuss the state of research in the seasonal to two-year climate prediction time frame in the Colorado River basin.

3.     Concentrate research efforts on a testbed that targets CBRFCs operations in the Colorado River basin.  The testbed will be developed in advance of the workshop, containing hindcasts and other retrospective forecasts and data for important watersheds.  Researchers will be invited to test their experimental forecast approaches using data from the testbed, yielding results that can be inter-compared and compared with CBRFCs current practices.  The testbed environment will also illustrate pathways for transfer promising methods into the operational forecast environment, and define the constraints applicable to those pathways. 

In the few months following the workshop, CBRFC proposes to facilitate and support (depending on resources) follow-on visits from interested researchers with successful and applicable forecast methodologies to focus on implementing experimental forecast tools into the CBRFC forecast environment.  




Monday, March 21, 2011

10:00  Welcome, goals (Kevin, Andy)

10:15  CWCB perspective (Michelle G)

CBRFC and USBR forecasts and mid-term operations

10:30  Review USBR 24 month study methodology / mid-term probabilistic modeling project (Katrina)

11:30  Review current CBRFC forecast methodology (Kevin, Andy)

12:00  Lunch (order out: please have cash)

1:00    CBRFC and OHD efforts to improve streamflow prediction (Andy, Julie)

-- moving from current coordination to 'objective consolidation'

-- HEFS and trial implementations at CBRFC

-- interactions with NCEP for migration to CFSv2 (Julie)

-- post-processing for seasonal time-scales (Julie)


Ongoing and recent research results on seasonal – two year predictability on the Colorado: Each group will make a 30-45 minute presentation with discussion to follow each. Please consider the following:

      Application: How do you envision your work being applicable to CBRFC/USBR forecasting and operation planning challenges?

       Integration: How would your work be integrated with existing or planned capabilities and/or other research efforts?

1:45    University of Arizona work (Matt)

2:45    Break

3:00    University of Colorado work (Nina / Cameron)

4:00    CIRES work (Klaus)

4:30    Discussion

5:00    Adjourn day 1


6pm - Group Dinner / Happy Hour: Squatters Brew Pub (147 W 300 South)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8:30    Portland State University work (Hamid)

9:30    Utah State University work (Rob, Simon)

10:30  Break

10:45  University of Nevada Las Vegas (Tom, Kenneth)

11:45  Lunch

12:45  Forecast testbed design and supporting datasets (Andy)

1:30    Close out discussion


o   How best to facilitate inter-comparison and evaluation?

       Future directions:

o   What could we do with varying degrees of funding?

o   What gaps exist that could be addressed by program level initiatives (e.g. NIDIS, CTB, USBR?, etc)

o   Possible fall meeting for science and/or stakeholders

2:30    Future directions and conclusions

3:00    Adjourn

3:00    Optional tour of CBRFC forecast operations