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Published February 23, 2011
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 have averaged between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the Southwest deserts and along the lower Colorado River, 45 to 55 degree F in southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico, and 30 to 45 degrees F across most of central and northern New Mexico and the Colorado Plateau (Figure 1a). These temperatures have been 0–2 degrees F warmer than average across most of Arizona and 2–4 degrees warmer than average in Gila and western Maricopa counties (Figure 1b). In north-central New Mexico, temperatures were 1–3 degrees F warmer than average, while central and southern New Mexico were 0–3 degrees colder than average. Many areas have seen average water year temperatures decrease because of recent cold snaps.
Temperatures during the past 30 days were 2–6 degrees F colder than average over western New Mexico and 4–10 degrees F colder than average across the eastern half of the state (Figures 1c–d). Arizona temperatures ranged from 2 degrees warmer to 4 degrees colder than average, with the warmest conditions in the western half of the state. The unseasonably cold temperatures were due to the La Niña circulation that has brought cold polar air southward as upper level low pressure troughs have extended deep into the southern tier of states.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 Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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