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Published February 22, 2012
Temperature(data through 2/15/12)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 have averaged between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the southwest deserts and along the lower Colorado River, and 35 to 50 degrees F on the Colorado Plateau in northeastern Arizona and most of New Mexico. Temperatures in the higher elevations of both states have been between 30 and 35 degrees F (Figure 1a). These temperatures have been generally 0–2 degrees F warmer than average across most of Arizona and New Mexico. There have been a few pockets of colder-than-average temperatures, including central Arizona and southwestern and north central New Mexico, where temperatures have been 0–4 degrees F below average. The cold spots in New Mexico have occurred in the areas receiving more precipitation relative to surrounding areas.
During the past 30 days, temperatures were largely 0–4 degrees F warmer than average across both states. In the southeast corner of Arizona, temperatures averaged between 4 and 6 degrees F above average. Warm conditions also have prevailed along the Arizona and New Mexico border and in south-central New Mexico (Figures 1c–d). Only western Yavapai County was colder than average. The unseasonably warm temperatures occurred because the storm tracks generally have remained north or south of Arizona and New Mexico. Although there have been several cold air outbreaks across the Southwest, they have been short lived.
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 Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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