Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aquifer Update

Non-drought Conditions
Barton Springs Flow: 89 cfs (10-day average)
Lovelady depth to water: 148.1 ft

Currently, the aquifer is experiencing high springflow and water levels due to the above-average rainfall and recharge we’ve received since September 2009.

The end of the drought was brought about by some substantial rainfall in the fall of 2009 and then persistent above-average rainfall for the past 6 months (Figure 2). The above-average rainfall is related to the onset of El Niño conditions. El Niño conditions generally produce above-average rainfall for Texas, while La Niña conditions usually produce drier-than-normal conditions for Texas. The El Niño-La Niña cycles result from changes in the global moisture patterns related to ocean temperatures fluctuations in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño began to develop in the summer of 2009. Substantial storms of up to 10 inches began to fall in September 2009 and helped saturate the extremely dry ground, and prime the area for the subsequent above-average rains resulting in runoff and ultimately recharge to the aquifer.

The short-term forecast is very good. The Climate Prediction Center indicates that El Niño conditions are expected to continue through the spring 2010. However, current models indicate a possible weakening and possibly entry into neutral or La Niña conditions late in the summer 2010.

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