Sweet Summer

Ahhhh, summer is here with lovely warm days and cool breezy nights.  We’ve even had several rainfall events, for which we are always grateful.  Streamflow in our river is low, but at least there is still water flowing in it, and we’ve spent many hours playing there.  Besides river play, we’re staying busy with our usual activities: hiking nearby trails, gardening, cooking & eating good food with great people, visiting farmers’ markets, and, for the past two weeks, hosting visiting family.  It is always a treat to share the wonders of our little corner of the world with visitors….almost like experiencing it again for the first time.

Mia’s 9th tooth made its first appearance last weekend (it is in her upper right), and she is chewing on her fingers quite a bit so we’re thinking that more will soon be making their debuts.  She is talking up a storm, working on various numbers and letters (not necessarily in the right order but often, surprisingly so), and doing things on her own (‘No Mama! I do it!’).  And she LOVES playing with water, whether that is in our front yard with the hose, sprinkler or baby pool, or going to the river and watching, walking, playing in the flowing water.  In fact, you should see how fast she moves when we say, ‘do you want to go to the river?’

Speaking of rivers, do you know about the real time surface water data available from the US Geological Survey?  Check out the map on this page: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt  The main map alone contains a wealth of data on the current streamflow conditions across the US.  If you were so inclined, you can dig deeper and click on any state to get a similar picture and, even more, you can go to individual streamflow gaging sites to see detailed info on current and past streamflow.  For example, here is a figure I pulled up for the Rio Grande near Taos, NM:

90 days of streamflow data for the Rio Grande near Taos, NM

90 days of streamflow data for the Rio Grande near Taos, NM

You can see streamflow has been about 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) lately, and that for this entire spring streamflow has been considerably lower than the median streamflow measured at that site over the past 87 years.  Is recent history (specifically, our short historical record, in this case, only 87 years) a good predictor for current and future conditions?  Probably not, but it is the only means of comparison that we have and everyone wants some way to put things in context.  As most earth scientists will tell you, ‘Stationarity is dead’, which basically means that we now acknowledge that the past is not necessarily a reliable predictor of future conditions, at least for most earth-based processes.  But that is a topic for another post.  My point here is only to tell you about this great resource.  Now you can find out more about streamflow than you ever wanted to know!

How are you spending your summer?  And how are the rivers flowing in your part of the world?

About Stephanie

I am a mother and a wife, lady scientist, gardener, fabulous cook, foodie, world traveler, and aspiring polymath. I like to ignore stereotypes, challenge the status quo and encourage independent thought.
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