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Published September 20, 2011
Temperature(data through 9/14/11)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 are averaging between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the southwest deserts and along the Arizona-California border, 60 to 65 degrees F in southeastern Arizona and in southern New Mexico, and 45 to 60 degrees F in central and northwestern New Mexico and Arizona (Figure 1a). The highest elevations have experienced average temperatures, between 40 and 45 degrees F, that are within 1 degree F of average across the northern half of Arizona and northwestern New Mexico (Figure 1b). Southern Arizona and central New Mexico generally have been 1–2 degrees F warmer than average, while eastern New Mexico has been 2–4 degrees F warmer than average.
In the last month, the persistent high pressure ridge over Texas that was present in July and August has lingered into September, bringing record-high temperatures to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Temperatures during the past 30 days have been 2–4 degrees F warmer than average across most of the Colorado Plateau of Arizona and northern New Mexico; temperatures in southern and western Arizona and southern and eastern New Mexico have been 4–6 degrees F warmer than average (Figures 1c–d). High temperatures in the region are in part caused by the position of the high pressure ridge, which has been parked farther east than normal, suppressing monsoon precipitation in many parts of the Southwest.
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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