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Published October 27, 2010
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 have been between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit across northern New Mexico, the eastern border of Arizona, and much of the Colorado Plateau (Figure 1a). Southern and eastern New Mexico and the Mogollon Rim in Arizona experienced temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F, while southeastern Arizona has been between 65 and 70 degrees F. The southwest deserts and lower Colorado River in Arizona have been between 75 and 85 degrees F. These temperatures are unseasonably warm for October, running 0–6 degrees F warmer than average across Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 1b).
The past 30 days have been similarly warm, generally measuring 0–6 degrees F warmer than average across the entire Southwest except one small area in southwestern New Mexico (Figure 1c). However, this spot appears to be an interpolation error as all the closest measuring stations depicted in Figure 1d record above-average temperatures. The warm temperatures are due to high pressure and generally clear skies, but with greater-than-average humidity across the Southwest. Subtropical moisture has been streaming into the region for the past 30 days, causing dew points to rise, which in turn elevates temperatures. Without the two major cold storm systems that came across the region between September 21 and 24 and October 3 and 8, temperatures would have been much higher across the region. The storms finally brought fall conditions to the Southwest, and temperatures in the 90s are not expected to return until spring.
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on October 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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