Scientists find patterns in Utah's wet-dry cycles
At Utah State University, climate researchers have been watching precipitation cycles. And they have found a predictable rhythm to wet-dry cycles, a pattern that holds promise for helping manage reservoirs and homeowner water conservation.
The USU team studied long-suspected patterns against temperature measurements, precipitation readings, tree-ring data and Great Salt Lake levels.
They looked at data that goes back nearly 1,000 years, discovering a powerful relationship between sea-surface temperatures in a specific area of the Pacific Ocean and the rainfall and snowfall in northern Utah.
The 12-year cycle is like an echo with a 3-year-delay: just as the Pacific temperatures head toward their lowest, the precipitation in northern Utah begins to increase. And when the ocean temperatures approach their warmest, a drought begins digging in. The pattern does not apply for southern Utah and its distinct climate pattern.
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