Saturday, July 9, 2011

Serious Water

Since this is my first summer season at Yellowstone, I don’t have much of a frame of reference with which to compare past observations. But I must say there seems to be a lot of water around this part of the Rocky Mountains.

USGS.cfsYellowstoneRiver
Courtesy USGS

According to USGS real-time water data, as of July 9, 2011 there are 28,400 cubic feet per second (cfs) of Yellowstone River flowing near Livingston, MT, about 60 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs at the north entrance to the park. The maximum for the past 86 years was 21,300 cfs in 1975 while the minimum was 3000 cfs in 1931. The median cfs is 8,340 while the mean is 9,080. I am neither a hydrologist nor a statistics freak - is the average cubic feet per second of Yellowstone River somewhere between these two numbers or around 8,710 cfs?

YellowstoneRiver AtFishingBridge(e)
Yellowstone River at Fishing Bridge area

 
Fishing Bridge(a)
Fishing Bridge across Yellowstone River

YellowstoneRiver AtFishingBridge(c)
Fishing Bridge steps to Yellowstone River

 
Regardless, we are waaaaay over any of those numbers. In the park, swimming in the Firehole River is off-limits due to high water. Sections of roads are closed due to high water. Sections of trails are closed due to high water. Some lakeside boardwalks, notably at West Thumb Geyser Basin, are nearly submerged due to – you guessed it – high water.

The geese appear to be loving life in the submerged grasses!

IMG_7546Canada GeeseNearFishing Bridge
Canada Geese in Yellowstone River at Fishing Bridge area

It will be fascinating to see if the lake level rises any more, and to watch as it recedes over the course of the rest of the summer.

LakesideSpring_ WestThumbGeyserBasin_
Submerged hot spring, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake

LakesideBoardwalk_WestThumb GeyserBasin(a)
A rare close-up for a kayaker at West Thumb Geyser Basin
 
LakesideBoardwalk_WestThumb GeyserBasin(b)
High-water Yellowstone Lake at West Thumb Geyser Basin
  

3 comments:

  1. That Is a lot of water. Lake Powell is rising ~6"/day.

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  2. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BR INTERESTED IN ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE CHANGING WATER LEVELS AT YELLOWSTONE LAKE.
    IT HAS TO DO WITH THE RESURGENT DOMES AND THE TILTING UP OF NORTH END OF THE LAKE AND THUS THE TILTING DOWN AT THE SOUTH END.
    THIS IS ONE OF MANY LINKS OUT THERE.
    www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/geolake.htm

    KEEP UP THE INTERESTING WORK.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe that mean and average are the same thing...

    So the average (I believe) is 9,080 cfs.

    I enjoy your blog and photos. Thank you for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete