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La Niña Tracker - Jan 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Oceanic and atmospheric indicators of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) continue to indicate weak La Niña conditions that are in rapid decline. Most forecast agencies identified a likely end to La Niña conditions (and by extension, this La Niña event) by February. This is not surprising given many of the oceanic and atmospheric indicators of La Niña have been weak to borderline neutral for much of the last few months (Figs. 1-2). (read more)

Southwest Climate Outlook January 2017 - Climate Summary

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Precipitation & Temperature: December precipitation totals for the past 30 days were above average to much above average in Arizona’s climate divisions and were mostly above average in New Mexico’s climate divisions (Fig. 1a). December temperatures were much above average across most of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, with mostly above-average temperatures across the remainder of the two states (Fig. 1b). A number of storm systems in so far 2017 have brought well above-average moisture to the region, although portions of Arizona have missed out on this precipitation (Fig. 2). January temperatures have been warmer than average across the Southwest and colder than average across the Northwest. (read more)

Clean Energy Policy and Indigenous Territorial Rights: Notes from my Collaborative Research in Southern Chile

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Windy, sunny days, cold nights and mornings, and occasional rains mark the beginning of spring in southern Chile. White flowered plum trees dot the landscape. Hummingbirds and bees buzz between flower treats. The campo is bustling. Long days are dedicated to turning the fields, planting, weeding, and preparing animals for new pastures. Farmers are planting earlier in hopes that plants will be hardier. Not enough rain fell this year, and farmers are worried about summer water supplies. Concerns about drought’s effects are overshadowed by the looming questions regarding ongoing small hydropower development on the many rivers and streams of the sacred Puelwillimapu territory of the Mapuche-Huilliche people.

Life between Hope and Despair: Climate Change Impacts in Coastal Bangladesh

Monday, December 19, 2016

Traveling across southwest coastal Bangladesh is not easy. With limited transport infrastructure and facilities, people might end up spending an entire day or night just to travel small distances. In the last week of May (2016), when I arrived coastal city Kuakata in Patuakhali district, literally I spent the whole night to travel ca. 150 miles from Khulna (a regional big city, which is 170 miles southwest of the capital Dhaka). It was a rainy early morning in Kuakata. However, it didn’t took much time to realize local vulnerability to climate impacts. I went to the Kuakata sea beach, and saw how local people are living with the risks of rising tides and coastal erosion. I clearly understood why for local people climate change is not an issue of scientific or political discourse; for them, it is the reality.

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Dec 2016 La Niña Tracker

Friday, December 16, 2016

From the December issue of the CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Oceanic and atmospheric indicators of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) continue to indicate a weak La Niña event that is likely to last through mid-winter at least and perhaps into early spring (Figs. 1-2). The borderline weak status of the event, along with some discrepancy between the forecast agencies discussed here, means a more rapid transition to ENSO-neutral conditions cannot be ruled out. As with last month, there is some hedging in the forecasts and outlooks that likely stems from ongoing uncertainty as to whether the event can maintain even weak La Niña strength through winter 2017 (December–February). Fluctuations in forecasts and models are due to the limited coordination between oceanic and atmospheric conditions described in previous outlooks, “masking…by intra-seasonal activity” (as described by the CPC on Dec 8), and the difficulty in categorizing borderline conditions into a binary choice between weak La Niña and ENSO-neutral.

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Dec 2016 CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook - Climate Summary

Thursday, December 15, 2016

From the December issue of the CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Precipitation & Temperature: November precipitation totals were average to above average in Arizona’s climate divisions, and above average to much above average in New Mexico’s climate divisions (Fig. 1a). November temperatures were much above average across most of Arizona and all of New Mexico (Fig. 1b). This continued a trend of warm temperatures this fall, with parts of Arizona and New Mexico recording record warm temperatures in October and November (Fig. 2). Very little precipitation has fallen in December. This is not unexpected, as the Southwest generally receives limited precipitation between the end of the monsoon and early fall tropical storm activity and the uptick in precipitation in mid-winter into spring (when much of the cool season precipitation falls in the region). Temperatures in December have been mostly above normal in Arizona and western New Mexico, with cooler-than-normal temperatures in eastern New Mexico (Fig. 3). The upcoming polar vortex in the upper midwestern and eastern U.S., in addition to atmospheric river activity off the U.S. Pacific Coast, should shift this pattern in the latter half of December. 

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2016 Water Year in Review

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From the November issue of the CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Water year precipitation (October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016) was below average in much of the Southwest, particularly in Southern California, most of southern Arizona, and western New Mexico, and average to above average in northern Arizona and eastern New Mexico (Fig. 1). Spatial representations of cumulative water year precipitation adequately characterize the overall distribution of above- and below-average precipitation totals, but they do little to document the month-by-month accumulation of precipitation. This can be important, as heavy precipitation events such as tropical storm activity or monsoon events can quickly boost yearly totals, but with a lesser contribution to long-term water storage (as water from extreme events is lost to evaporation and runoff).

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Nov 2016 La Niña Tracker

Thursday, December 22, 2016

From the November issue of the CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Oceanic and atmospheric indicators of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) continue to indicate the likelihood of a weak La Niña event this winter (Figs. 1-2), although the chance of an ENSO-neutral winter cannot be ruled out. Any hedging in the forecasts and outlooks likely stems from uncertainty as to whether the event will maintain even weak La Niña strength through winter 2017 (December–February). Fluctuations in forecasts and models are likely due to the limited coordination between oceanic and atmospheric conditions described in previous outlooks, as well as generally borderline conditions (i.e., between weak La Niña and ENSO-neutral).

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Nov 2016 CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook - Climate Summary

Friday, November 18, 2016

From the November issue of the CLIMAS Southwest Climate Outlook

Precipitation & Temperature: October precipitation totals were below average across most of the climate divisions in Arizona and New Mexico, except for parts of western Arizona and central New Mexico (Fig. 1a). October temperatures were much above average across all of the two states, with record-warm observations in southern and eastern New Mexico (Fig. 1b). November precipitation to date has been buoyed by storm events that pushed in as part of a cutoff low. This rainfall may boost the percent of average precipitation calculations to impressive numbers, but the actual amount of rain that has fallen has been relatively meager (Fig. 2). In terms of regional climate, November tends to be one of the drier months. November temperatures have continued the trend observed in October (“Hot-tober”), ranging from 2 to 8 degrees F above normal across most of Arizona and New Mexico, a pattern that extends across the Intermountain West (Fig. 3).

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CLIMAS Fellow: Installations, Interviews, and Investment: my summer of gathering what’s possible for the Navajo Nation’s energy future

Thursday, October 20, 2016

In spring 2014, I left my job in Seattle and went on a road trip to tour coal country from Appalachia to Arizona. I was searching for answers to restless questions: how, in the face of climate change, would the US transition its entrenched fossil fuel infrastructure to renewables? How could that transition re-center culture, community, and a sustainable economy? Through a 6-week volunteer stint at Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC), I began to see the outlines of answers in BMWC’s work to develop community-based solar. I knew I wanted to stay connected to this important work and support it however I could.

Just a year later, I was back at Black Mesa Water Coalition as a student at the University of Arizona and a Climate and Society Graduate Fellow with CLIMAS (also funded by the Renewable Energy Network’s Future Energy Leaders Summer Fellowship program). This time, I was working together with the small but mighty nonprofit to write a report about challenges, opportunities, and recommendations to develop solar power on the Navajo Nation (read more).


 

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