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576 Years of Droughts and Floods Along Utah's Wasatch Front

Paper Reviewed
Bekker, M.F., DeRose, R.J., Buckley, B.M., Kjelgren, R.K. and Gill, N.S. 2014. A 576-year Weber River streamflow reconstruction from tree rings for water resource risk assessment in the Wasatch Front, Utah. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 50: 1338-1348.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Bekker et al. (2014) describe how they developed a 576-year (AD 1429-2004) tree-ring-based reconstruction of streamflow for northern Utah's Weber River, which they indicate exhibits "considerable inter-annual and decadal-scale variability." And in discussing their findings, they also report that droughts were more severe in duration, magnitude, and intensity "prior to the instrumental record, including the most protracted drought of the record, which spanned 16 years from 1703 to 1718."

At the other end of the hydrologic scale, the five researchers report that "extreme wet years and periods are also a regular feature of the reconstruction." In particular, they write that "a strong early 17th Century pluvial exceeds the early 20th Century pluvial in magnitude, duration, and intensity," noting that it dwarfs "the 1980s wet period that caused significant flooding along the Wasatch Front." In further discussion of their findings, Bekker et al. note that many previous tree-ring-derived reconstructions of streamflow for numerous other basins located throughout the Intermountain West suggest that "droughts in previous centuries have often exceeded those of the past 100 years in duration and magnitude," citing the studies of Meko and Stockton (1984), Woodhouse (2001), Carson and Munroe (2005), Woodhouse and Lukas (2006), Watson et al. (2009), Barnett et al. (2010), Wise (2010), Gray et al. (2011) and Meko et al. (2012). In light of these many real-world discoveries throughout this particular part of the planet, we are essentially forced to conclude there has not been anything unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the duration, magnitude or intensity of droughts and floods along the Wasatch Front and throughout the Intermountain West of the United States over the period of time during which the world's climate alarmists stubbornly contend the Earth warmed at an unprecedented rate due to the greenhouse effect of ever-increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Barnett, F.A., Gray, S.T. and Tootle, G.A. 2010. Upper Green River Basin (United States) streamflow reconstructions. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 15: 567-579.

Carson, E.C. and Munroe, J.S. 2005. Tree-ring based streamflow reconstructions for Ashley Creek, Northeastern Utah: Implications for paleo-hydrology of the Southern Uinta Mountains. The Holocene 15: 602-611.

Gray, S.T., Lukas, J.J., and Woodhouse, C.A. 2011. Millennial-length records of streamflow from three major Upper Colorado River tributaries. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 47: 702-712.

Meko, D.M. and Stockton, C.W. 1984. Secular variations in streamflow in the Western United States. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 23: 889-897.

Meko, D.M., Woodhouse, C.A. and Morino, K. 2012. Dendrochronology and links to streamflow. Journal of Hydrology 412: 200-209.

Watson, T.A., Barnett, F.A., Gray, S.T. and Tootle, G.A. 2009. Reconstructed streamflows for the headwaters of the Wind River, Wyoming, United States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 45: 224-236.

Wise, E.K. 2010. Tree ring record of streamflow and drought in the Upper Snake River. Water Resources Research 46: 10.1029/2010WR009282.

Woodhouse,C.A. 2001. A tree-ring reconstruction of streamflow for the Colorado Front Range. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 37: 561-569.

Woodhouse, C.A. and Lukas, J.J. 2006. Drought, tree rings and water resource management in Colorado. Canadian Water Resources Journal 31: 1-14.

Posted 4 February 2015