Originally published in Feb 2015 CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook:
Why has it been so cold on the East Coast, and so warm in the Southwest? Where does this fit into climatic patterns? And is this extraordinary or just variability? (read more)
Image Source - NOAA-Earth Systems Resarch Laboratory (ESRL)
A definitive 2014–2015 El Niño forecast remains elusive. Weak El Niño conditions have continued in 2015, but recent backsliding in SST anomalies (Fig. 1), especially in the Niño 1-2 regions (Fig. 2), along with the ongoing lack of coordination between atmospheric and oceanic conditions, give little confidence that the 2014–2015 event will be characterized as anything more than a weak El Niño. (read more)
Image Source - NOAA-National Climatic Data Center
Originally published in the Feb 2015 Southwest Climate Outlook
Precipitation: The borderlands region of southern Arizona and portions of southern, central, and northeastern New Mexico all recorded above-average precipitation, but most of Arizona and New Mexico received average or below-average precipitation in the past 30 days despite a number of January storms (Fig. 1).
Temperature: After a record year for Arizona (and a top five year for New Mexico), temperatures remained well above average in the Southwest over the past 30 days (Fig. 2). This means pleasant weather compared to the frigid and snowy conditions in the eastern and central U.S. but has implications for drought, water storage, phenology, and human health.
The Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program supports University of Arizona graduate students whose work connects climate research and decision making. Fellows receive $5,000 and guidance from members of the CLIMAS research team (Climate Assessment for the Southwest) for one year. The program’s main objective is to train a group of students to cross the traditional boundaries of academic research into use-inspired science and applied research. While CLIMAS research generally occurs in the Southwest U.S., the Fellows program allows students to work anywhere in the world. (read more)
Just when it looked like we were getting a more definitive answer regarding El Niño, ongoing lack of cooperation on the part of the atmosphere continues to muddy forecasts moving into 2015. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remain elevated across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1), and while temperature anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region are within the range of a weak El Niño event, they have declined in the past month (Fig. 2). It is a common refrain in forecast bulletins that a lack of coupling between ocean and atmosphere is responsible for decreased confidence in an El Niño event this winter. Additionally, a lack of temperature gradient along the equatorial Pacific and little in the way of El Niño wind patterns further reduce confidence that a stronger event is on the horizon. (read more)
In the January Southwest Climate Podcast, Zack Guido is back and joins Mike Crimmins to discuss the state of the climate in 2014, including the record year for Arizona and the near record year for New Mexico. They also talk about weather systems that affected our most recent temperature and precipitation patterns, the ongoing uncertainty with El Niño, or as some have started referring to it, "El Limbo", and the state of precipitation and drought in the southwest. They wrap things up looking at the seasonal outlooks and the projected trends for the coming year. (read more)