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Published August 21, 2013
Temperature(data through August 14, 2013)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 have been hottest in southwestern deserts and coolest in the higher elevations of northern Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 1a). This temperature pattern reflects the topography, but is also a result of the winter and spring storm tracks that favored moving over the northern half of the two states. Storms, in addition to delivering rain and snow, often bring cold Arctic air. Even though winter storms were few and far between, the highest elevations of northern New Mexico and the White Mountains and central Navajo and Apache counties of Arizona have been 1–3 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than average (Figure 1b). On the other hand, eastern New Mexico and southwestern Arizona have been the warmest, but temperatures in these regions have been only 1–2 degrees F above average.
In the past 30 days, most of New Mexico has had slightly warmer-than-average temperatures, but extremely warm conditions—as much as 5 degrees F warmer than average—have descended on northeastern counties (Figures 1c–d). The hot conditions reflect below-average precipitation in the last month (see Precipitation Summary); rainfall helps lower temperatures due to increased cloud cover and thus more evaporation. In Arizona, cooler-than-average weather is largely due to frequent monsoon activity on the Colorado Plateau, along the Mogollon Rim, and along the southern border (see Monsoon Summary).Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. We are in the 2013 water year as of October 1, 2012. 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 1981–2010. 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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