Workshop Report

Follow-up Workshop: Tree-ring reconstructions of streamflow for the Rio Grande basin

Albuquerque, NM - May 30, 2008

This workshop was the follow-up to the workshop we held in Albuquerque in November 2007, and was the third stage of a NOAA-funded project to expand and improve the usability of tree-ring reconstructions for drought planning and water management in the Rio Grande basin. Along with the convenors (Lukas, Woodhouse, Bathke, Meko, Touchan, Garfin, Hartmann, and Guido), there were 19 workshop participants--8 of whom were also at the first workshop--representing a broad array of water management and stakeholder interests in the Rio Grande basin (see participant list).

The workshop was split into two sessions: the morning was a review of "Tree-Ring 101"--how streamflow reconstructions are developed and applied to water management--intended mainly for the new participants, and the afternoon was devoted to the presentation of new reconstructions and other data products developed with input from participants in the first workshop. The reconstructions and data products are available on the Rio Grande basin home page.

The morning session concluded with a good discussion of how climate information outside of the observed record--both paleo-data and future climate projections--are being considered and used by the participants' organizations and their stakeholders and decisionmakers. The afternoon session also included a demonstration of prototype online paleohydrology analysis tools, a presentation on a new non-parametric reconstruction technique that will be used in a project with the NM Interstate Stream Commission, and concluded with a discussion of needs for additional paleo-information beyond what was presented in the afternoon.

Links to workshop presentations (all PDF):



On the Monday following the workshop (June 2), I gave a lunch presentation to about 20 members of the New Mexico chapter of the American Water Resources Association--essentially a condensed version of the workshop: The long view of the Rio: What tree rings tell us about the past variability of the Rio Grande

While the Rio Grande streamflow reconstruction project formally concludes as of summer 2008, we will remain available to assist in the application of the reconstructions, and potentially develop additional data products. We encourage the workshop participants, and other water managers and stakeholders in the basin, to contact us if they have questions, comments, or requests for assistance or information. A number of participants expressed interest in a new research project (which began in fall 2008) whose goal is to better isolate and apply the tree-ring signal for monsoon precipitation, hopefully leading to improved reconstructions for the lower Rio Grande.

Jeff Lukas, University of Colorado & Western Water Assessment

The Rio Grande project team:

    Brad Udall, Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado
    Deborah Bathke, University of Nebraska