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Published March 23, 2011
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures in the new water year (since October 1) continue to average between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the southwest deserts and along the lower Colorado River, 45 to 55 in southeastern Arizona, 40 to 50 in southern New Mexico, and 30 to 45 across the Colorado Plateau and central and northern New Mexico (Figure 1a). These temperatures generally have been 0–2 degrees warmer than average across most of Arizona, with a few isolated locations that have been 0–2 degrees cooler than average (Figure 1b). Gila County, AZ, and Taos County, NM, and along the border of Luna and Grant counties, NM, temperatures have been 2–4 degrees warmer than average. This is similar to the early winter which was warmer than average. Mid-December through mid-February was colder than average across most of the Southwest. Temperatures over the past 30 days were 0–4 degrees warmer than average across the eastern two-thirds of Arizona and the western half of New Mexico. Eastern New Mexico was 2–6 degrees above average with Otero, Eddy, and southern Chavez counties 6 –10 degrees warmer than average. Only the western third of Arizona had temperatures slightly cooler than average (Figures 1c–d). The temperature gradient shows the storm paths this winter, with more frequent storms across western Arizona and very few storms across southeastern New Mexico. Fortunately, the storms have generally been quite cold at the highest elevations, dropping snow rather than rain.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
- 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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