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NMSU water lecture examines floods, droughts, climate variability

New Mexico is no stranger to extreme weather, especially over the past year, when a persistent drought was followed by damaging, record-level rains and an unusually wet winter. But many residents are trying to understand why these extreme weather events happen, and what can be done, if anything, to predict when they will occur.

Helping to put it all in perspective will be the first of three presentations in the Spring 2007 Water Lecture Series. The Water Lecture Series is a joint project of New Mexico State University's Water Task Force in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics; the NMSU Civil Engineering Department, in the College of Engineering; and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute.

"Floods, Droughts, and Climate Variability in the American Southwest: The Climatic Context for Extreme Events" will be presented by David Gutzler, professor of meteorology and climatology at the University of New Mexico. The lecture is set for 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in Wooton Hall Room 105 on the NMSU campus.

Gutzler also is a certified consulting meteorologist. He has been involved in climate research for more than 25 years, including modeling studies and data analyses of El Nino, the North American Monsoon, decadal and longer-term climate variability, ocean-atmosphere and land-atmosphere interactions, and predictability of weather and climate.

Gutzler earned a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University of California-Berkeley and a Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author or co-author of numerous papers on climate research, ranging from "New Mexico's Changing Climate" to "Evaluating Global Warming: A Post-1990s Perspective."

Other lectures planned during the spring semester include "Meteorology Behind Flooding Events in New Mexico's Flooding History" on March 15 and "Floodplain Management: How It Works and Its Limitations" April 5. Lectures will be from 3-4:30 p.m. in Wooton Hall Room 105.

For additional information concerning the lecture series, contact Leeann DeMouche, NMSU water resource specialist, at ldemouch@nmsu.edu or (505) 646-3973.