Simulated Impacts of El Nino/Southern Oscillation on United States Water Resources
The El Nino/ Southern Oscillation alters global weather patterns with consequences for fresh water quality and supply. ENSO events impact regions and natural resource sectors around the globe. For example, in 1997-98, a strong El Ni?o brought warm ocean temperatures, flooding and record snowfall to the west coast of the US. Research on ENSO events and their impacts has improved long range weather predictions, potentially reducing the damage and economic cost of these anomalous weather patterns. Here, we simulate the impacts of four types of ENSO states on water resources in the conterminous United States. We distinguish between Neutral, El Ni?o, La Ni?a and strong El Ni?o years over the period of 1960-1989. Using climate statistics that characterize these ENSO states to drive the HUMUS water resources model, we examine the effects of 'pure' ENSO events, without complications from transition periods. Strong El Ni?o is not simply an amplification of El Ni?o; it leads to strikingly different consequences for climate and water resources.