Title: Rain in New Mexico: Past, Present & Future
Time, Date, and Location: 5:30 PM, Wednesday, October 8th, at the Museum of Nature and Science, Las Cruces. Parking and entrance is on the Downtown Mall, at 450 North Water Street. (click here for map)
By: Dr. Tom Schmugge, NASA, USDA, and NMSU, retired.
Tom now works part-time at the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, on a project funded by the National Science Foundation to quantify all the water inputs and outputs of the state, the water budget
In the state water budget the biggest components are precipitation and evapotranspiration (ET), which are very difficult to assess on a statewide basis, particularly for our sparsely populated New Mexico. For ET this is especially true because of the difficulty in measuring it on the ground. There are several approaches using remotely sensed data to augment the ground net work of rain gauges and to estimate ET. I discuss these approaches and their results. One startling result is that these observations of precipitation have shown a decrease of about 1.25 million acre-feet / year since 1990, from a level of about 110 million ac-ft. Previous climatology would indicate that this trend should reverse as it did after the drought of the 50s. However, the complication of climate change suggests that this might not happen. Recent results of studies on climate change portend that the future probably won't be wetter.
Brief biography of Dr. Schmugge:
Dr. Thomas Schmugge spent 34 years as a research physical scientist in NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (1970-86) and the USDA Hydrology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland (1986-2004). He has been a truly peerless intellectual leader in improving both the theory and the application of microwave and infrared radiative transfer for the remote sensing of the land surface, especially soil moisture, surface temperature, and emissivity. Without exaggeration, he has been a trailblazer and is now unquestionably one of the few world experts on remote sensing in hydrology.
Dr. Schmugge was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (1998) and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2001). In 2006, Tom received the Robert E. Horton Medal of the American Geophysical Union. The medal is awarded for “outstanding contributions to the geophysical aspects of hydrology.” His accomplishments perfectly embody this ideal. His research has dealt with soil moisture and radiation, the main drivers of the Earth’s energy and water budgets.
Dr. Schmugge was appointed the Gerald Thomas Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at New Mexico State University in 2005, a position he held to 2008. His expertise is being put to use at the New Mexico Water Resource Research Institute, for the task of generating a water budget for the state of New Mexico. This project is funded by the EPSCoR program of the National Science Foundation.