The Big Picture
Exceptional water surpluses are forecast in north central Kazakhstan and in central Russia from the Volga River through the Ural Mountains to the western edge of the Central Siberian Plateau. Water deficits are expected in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, western Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Impacts
The warmest winter on record in Russia has set the wheat harvest on course to be the largest in eight years. In Kazakhstan, flooding has affected 43 urban areas, damaging 535 houses, washing away 20 kilometers of road, and destroying 2 bridges, according to government reports. 

Tajikistan continues to prepare for drought, pointing to a deficit of winter snow and a "heat wave" in February - temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (84F), setting a 50-year record. Along the Syr Darya River whose waters flow through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, over-extraction has caused the disappearance of spawning sites and a serious decline in the fish population.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, western Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan through December. Both deficits and surpluses are expected in Russia between the Urals and the Central Siberian Plateau July through September, and primarily surpluses thereafter.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

* Please note that effective March 28, 2016 NOAA changed the initialization procedure for CFSv2 to address issues with unrealistically cold sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. As a result, this month's Watch List is based on an ensemble of 14 CFSv2 forecasts issued after this fix was implemented instead of the normal 28. For more information see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/notification/tin16-09cfs.htm and http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/changes/downloads/CFSv2_Atlantic_cold_bias_problem.pdf.

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

For more information contact info@isciences.com.

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