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Published April 25, 2012
Temperature(data through 4/18/12)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 have averaged between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit on the Colorado Plateau of Arizona and across the northwestern half of New Mexico (Figure 1a). Temperatures have been colder in the highest elevations in northern New Mexico and eastern Arizona, ranging between 25 and 35 degrees F. In the southwest deserts of Arizona, temperatures have been 50–65 degrees F. These temperatures are within 1 degree F of average across most of Arizona and within 2 degrees F of average in most of New Mexico (Figure 1b). The warmest conditions have been in eastern New Mexico. Near-average temperatures across the region since October 1 mask considerable week-to-week variability caused by numerous storms. While many of these storms did not produce precipitation, they did lower temperatures. In the longer interim periods between storms, temperatures were generally above average.
The Southwest was substantially warmer than average in the last 30 days, with an increasing temperature gradient from west to east (Figures 1c–d). Temperatures in eastern New Mexico, for example, were between 4 and 8 degrees F warmer than average, while temperatures in western New Mexico and northeastern Arizona were 2–6 degrees F warmer than average. This colder-to-warmer pattern emerged as several cold fronts moved across the region, slightly warming as they advanced east. These are the same storms that, after exiting the Southwest, intersected warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and generated severe thunderstorms and tornados over the Great Plains and upper Midwest.
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. As of October 1, 2011, we are in the 2012 Water year.Water year is more commonly used in association with precipitation; water year temperature can be used to measure the temperatures associated with the hydrological activity during the water year.
Average refers to the arithmetic mean of annual data from 1971–2000. Departure from average temperature is calculated by subtracting current data from the average. The result can be positive or negative.
The continuous color maps (Figures 1a, 1b, 1c) are derived by taking measurements at individual meteorological stations and mathematically interpolating (estimating) values between known data points. The dots in Figure 1d show data values for individual stations. Interpolation procedures can cause aberrant values in data-sparse regions.
These are experimental products from the High Plains Regional Climate Center.
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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