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Published September 26, 2012
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the water year began on October 1 reflect elevation and latitude, with northern regions cooler than southern areas and lower elevations warmer than higher elevations (Figure 1a). In northern areas, a few cold winter storms passed through the region, bringing cooler temperatures, while most of these storms missed southern portions of both states. Similar to the winter pattern, summer temperatures reflected latitude and elevation. Eastern New Mexico experienced the warmest conditions. Temperatures there were generally 1–4 degrees Fahrenheit above average, and these warm conditions were related to the lack of winter and summer storms—precipitation helps lower temperatures (Figure 1b). In Arizona, average temperatures during the water year were generally within 1 degree F of average, with the coldest areas in south-central Arizona.
In the past 30 days, the location of the subtropical high pressure controlled temperatures in the Southwest. The high remained over New Mexico, bringing cleat skies and warm temperatures, while Arizona enjoyed a southeasterly air flow that ferried moist air and delivered substantial cloudiness and cooler temperatures. Southern Arizona and the Mogollon Rim were about 2 degrees F cooler than average, while New Mexico was between 0 and 2 degrees F warmer than average (Figures 1c–d).
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
- 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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