Archive for July, 2011

2011 Boggess Award

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

AWRA President Michael Campana has announced the winner of the 2011 Boggess Award: Deborah Elcock of Argonne National Laboratory. Her paper, “Future U.S. Water Consumption: The Role of Energy Production,” was published in the June 2010 issue of JAWRA. The award will be presented at the luncheon of the AWRA 2011 Annual Conference, this November in Albuquerque. Congratulations, Deborah!

Her article investigates how meeting domestic energy production targets for both fossil and renewable fuels may affect future water demand. In my blog entry at the time of publication, I noted, “This article is a great example of why one has to look at all aspects of an issue — take a multidisciplinary approach.” The Associate Editors agreed, and we have a winner!

The William R. Boggess Award is given to the author or authors of the paper, published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association during the preceding year, that best describes, delineates, or analyzes a major problem or aspect of water resources from either a theoretical, applied, or philosophical standpoint. Established in 1973, the Award honors William R. “Randy” Boggess, a member of AWRA, one of the first Directors, and a former President of the Association, who has also made significant contributions to AWRA as an Editor of JAWRA.

Associate Editor for Water Quality Modeling

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen D. Preston as JAWRA Associate Editor for Water Quality Modeling. Steve works with the USGS NAWQA program in Dover Delaware, and currently is serving as a Guest Associate Editor for a forthcoming featured collection on the SPARROW model. He therefore extends our strength and interest, begun by departing Associate Editor Rich Alexander, in the modern, GIS-based models shaping our science.

Steve will be starting September 1, to allow him time to wrap up the featured collection and tend to some other duties of his “day job” at USGS. Welcome, Steve, to our team!

2010 Odds of Acceptance

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
All 2010 manuscripts are in late stages of review, so we are able to estimate some statistics of interest to potential authors: (2009 numbers are in parentheses.)
58% of manuscripts were accepted (vs. 50% in 2009)
15% were rejected after review, or were withdrawn (21%); and
27% were returned without review (29%).
Time-to-first-decision for reviewed manuscripts (i.e. excluding those returned without review) was a median 94 days, with 90% decided within 155 days.
Our change in acceptance rate likely is the result of our allowing struggling authors an additional revision or two. Maybe I’m mellowing, but we had some promising papers where the authors and reviewers were willing to work to bring the manuscript up to our standards.
I am not happy with our time-to-first-decision getting longer. However, we had some unexpected changes in associate editors which caused some manuscripts to be delayed. I hope we can do better in 2011.

Snowpack trends

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

August 2011 article (Early View): “Trends in Western U.S. Snowpack and Related Upper Colorado River Basin Streamflow,” by W. Paul Miller and Thomas C. Piechota.

This study investigates trends in daily measurements of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) in the Western U.S.. These trends are compared to observed streamflow trends over the Colorado River Basin in an attempt to quantify the impact of changing precipitation characteristics to streamflow in the basin and to improve understanding of the linkage between snowpack and streamflow over the basin. Trends in precipitation from 398 snowpack telemetry (SNOTEL) stations spanning the Western U.S. are investigated. Then, trends in USGS streamflow stations spanning the Colorado River Basin are considered. Finally, corresponding trends in streamflow over Colorado River headwater basins are related to regional SNOTEL stations within the headwater basins to better understand the linkages between SWE and streamflow.

Based on daily SNOTEL observations, the length of snowpack season has shortened during this period of recent historic drought, and corresponds to below average aggregate April through July runoff in Colorado headwater river basins. Interestingly, there is a much stronger correspondence between runoff characteristics and the timing of the end of the snowpack season than correspondence between runoff characteristics and the timing of the beginning of the snowpack season.

Conclusion: As snowpack and precipitation characteristics change in the Colorado River Basin in response to climate change, water supply forecasters in the region may no longer be able to rely on past observations of basin hydroclimatology to aid in the development of water supply projections.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

New Zealand water-quality monitoring

Monday, July 18th, 2011

August 2011 article (Early View): “Twenty Years of New Zealand’s National Rivers Water Quality Network: Benefits of Careful Design and Consistent Operation,” by Robert J. Davies-Colley, David G. Smith2, Robert C. Ward, Graham G. Bryers, Graham B. McBride, John M. Quinn, and Mike R. Scarsbrook.

Monitoring sites of NRWQNI’ve always said, even our best sensors cannot collect data from the past. Though the value may not always seem apparent, there’s no substitute for long-term monitoring. This paper reviews New Zealand’s National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN), which is now in its third decade of monitoring, from both a descriptive and historical viewpoint.

The NRWQN was carefully designed following a review of monitoring efforts in other countries. All sites are located close to hydrometric stations, enabling flow estimation at times of sampling. The NRWQN is noteworthy for its stability with no changes in river sites and only one important change in monitored variables: BOD5 was discontinued, and the fecal indicator bacterium E. coli was added following a comprehensive stakeholder review in 2002.

One important feature, and, ironically, potential weakness, of the NRWQN has been the low turnover of senior operational staff. This cannot continue indefinitely with many senior staff being expected to retire within the next decade. To address issues of succession the program is increasingly involving more junior staff so that the collective knowledge as regards NRWQN operations and applications is retained.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]


Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Back from France! I wouldn’t call the trip relaxing, as we packed a lot into two weeks. But, it was fun! One highlight was Monet’s water garden in Giverney: You definitely will see a JAWRA cover from that trip!

We baked in the 40°C heat — the Loire Valley is experiencing a serious drought — to see the great chateaus of the Renaissance. One of the most interesting was Clos Lucé, where King Francis I convinced Leonardo da Vinci to spend the final three years of his life painting, writing, and generally inspring the French Court. Leonardo brought along the Mona Lisa with him, and reportedly finished it there, perhaps hanging it where the reproduction in the photo is now shown. Genius is portable, and goes where it is nourished and appreciated.

We also saw the Normandy invasion beaches just before coming home on the July 4th weekend. It really makes you appreciate the sacrifices our armed forces made to keep us free.

Back to work now! Finishing the Highlights for the August issue took first priority. I’ll whittle down my work queue this week.