Consider the plight of the semi-arid world

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By Roger Snodgrass

A UNESCO prize awarded this week to the water research center SAHRA called attention to an associated project at Los Alamos National Laboratory that is modeling the hydrology of its region.“We work on simulating the water balance of the Rio Grande basin,” said Everett Springer of the lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Division in an interview this week. “That’s our role in SAHRA.”SAHRA, the Center for the Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas at the University of Arizona, was jointly awarded the Great Man-Made River international water prize along with the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing at the University of California, Irvine.The award ceremony took place at the World Science Forum in Budapest, where SAHRA Director Jim Shuttleworth accepted the award on Saturday. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization.LANL’s project, which is funded through SAHRA by the National Science Foundation, is tracking the hydrosphere of the upper Rio Grande Basin from 1990 to the present. The computational model is known as the Los Alamos Distributed Hydrology System (LADHS).Interactive inputs and outputs to and from ground and surface water are simulated in the model coupled with atmospheric and river-routing components.

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