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Published August 25, 2010
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Warm summer temperatures are increasing the average water year temperatures, which began on October 1, particularly on the Colorado Plateau where temperatures mostly ranged from 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (Figure 1a). Elsewhere, the northern half of New Mexico remains between 40 and 55 degrees F and the high elevations of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico remain the coolest in the region, hovering between 35 and 40 degrees F. The southwest deserts of Arizona have averaged between 60 and 75 degrees F, while temperatures along the southern border of New Mexico have been between 55 and 65 degrees F. In many regions, warm nighttime temperatures caused by increased humidity have been responsible for warm average summer temperatures. Amazingly, however, these temperatures are still 0–3 degrees F cooler than average across the entire southwestern United States (Figure 1b). The southeastern corner of Arizona and the White Mountains have been the lone holdouts, seeing 1–3 degrees F warmer-than-average temperatures. The cooler-than-average water year temperatures reflect the influence of the cold and wet El Niño event during last winter.
During the past 30 days, temperatures throughout New Mexico and across southern Arizona have been 0–2 degrees F above average (Figures 1c–d). The warmest conditions have been in northeastern New Mexico, while parts of central and northern Arizona have been than average. These cooler temperatures are the result of monsoonal thunderstorms that have been quite isolated, leaving southeastern Arizona uncharacteristically dry in recent weeks.Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following 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 Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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