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Published January 25, 2011
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 on average have been between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the southwest deserts of Arizona, 45 to 55 degrees F in southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico, and 35 to 50 across most of central and northern New Mexico and the Colorado Plateau (Figure 1a). Average temperatures in the highest elevations of both Arizona and New Mexico have been between 30 and 40 degrees F, and temperatures across the two states have been largely between 1 and 3 degrees F warmer than average (Figure 1b). There has, however, been spatial variability, with some pockets seeing more than 4 degrees F warmer-than-average temperatures and other areas experiencing cooler-than-average temperatures.
Temperatures during the past 30 days generally have been 0 to 2 degrees F cooler than average across most of Arizona (Figures 1c–d). Western New Mexico has been up to 4 degrees F colder than average, while eastern New Mexico has been 2 to 4 degrees warmer than average. December was extremely warm, but two very cold winter storms moved through Arizona and western New Mexico during the latter half of the month. These storms brought record cold temperatures to many locations in both states. Temperatures in northwestern New Mexico were up to 6 degrees colder than average.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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