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Published June 27, 2012
Temperature(data through 6/20/12)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Arizona’s temperatures since the water year began on October 1 are well matched to the terrain, with the hottest conditions in the southwest deserts, the cooler conditions on the Colorado Plateau, and coldest at the highest elevations (Figure 1a). New Mexico temperatures also tend to follow the terrain, but are significantly cooler than those in Arizona. More of the storms have tracked across New Mexico than Arizona, although many clipped the northern half of the state. Few of the storms ferried cold temperatures, and therefore most of the region has experienced above-average temperatures (Figure 1b). In Arizona, temperature anomalies in Gila County were the largest in the region, registering between 2 and 4 degrees Fahrenheit above average. In New Mexico, the eastern counties experienced the warmest temperature anomalies, due in part to storms skipping these regions.
In the past 30 days, both states experienced unseasonably warm conditions (Figures 1c–d). High pressure in the eastern Pacific Ocean led to clear skies, dry westerly winds, and elevated air temperatures in the Southwest. Eastern New Mexico was the hottest area, with temperatures ranging from 3 to 6 degrees F warmer than average. The combination of warm conditions and the dry winter and spring helped the Whitewater-Baldy fire, located in the Gila National Forest, become New Mexico’s largest wildfire on record.Notes:
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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