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Published October 27, 2010
Temperatures during the 2010 water year were 1–2 degrees Fahrenheit below average for most of northern and western Arizona and eastern and southwestern New Mexico (Figures 2a–b). The regions with above-average temperatures were southeastern Arizona and south-central and northeastern New Mexico, where temperatures were between 0 and 3 degrees F above average. The temperature pattern in Arizona is a result of near-average temperatures the whole water year. In New Mexico, the pattern showing temperatures between 2 degrees above and 2 degrees below average is due to the averaging of a colder-than-average winter with a warmer-than-average summer.
The El Niño event helped increase cloud cover and deliver colder arctic air, playing a large role in keeping winter temperatures cooler than recent years. Across New Mexico and northern and eastern Arizona, winter was generally colder than average. December through March ranged from 1.4 to 2.2 degrees F colder than average for Albuquerque and El Paso, although January in Albuquerque was 0.7 degrees F warmer than average. In Arizona, Flagstaff had near-average to slightly cooler-than-average temperatures from October through June. Phoenix and Tucson had near-average temperatures throughout the year, except in November and January, which were much warmer than average.
Summer was warmer than average in both Arizona and New Mexico due to a short monsoon that had high humidity and nighttime cloudiness but relatively few precipitation events. The lack of cooling rainfall helped increase average temperatures, which exceeded long-term averages in both states during the summer. For example, July, August, and September were the fifth, sixteenth, and second warmest summer months on record in Phoenix, respectively, and the seventh, fourth, and second warmest summer months on record in Tucson. In New Mexico, June and September had average temperatures 3.1 to 5.0 degrees F above average for Albuquerque and El Paso. Those months were extremely dry, as the monsoon began late and ended early with little rainfall to cool New Mexico.
Click figures to enlarge.Notes:
*See notes section on Southwest Climate Outlook recent temperature page for more information on interpreting these figures.
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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