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Southwest Climate Outlook August 2018 - Climate Summary

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Precipitation and Temperature: Precipitation in July ranged from below average to much-above average in Arizona and New Mexico (Fig. 1a), illustrating the extent to which monsoon precipitation varies across the region. July temperatures were warmer than average in nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico (Fig. 1b), and since July 1, most of the daily temperature anomalies (deviations above or below the average temperature) have been warmer across the region (Fig. 2). (read more)

July 2018 SW Climate Outlook - Monsoon Tracker

Friday, July 20, 2018

In 2008, the National Weather Service (NWS) changed the definition of the start of the Southwest monsoon from a variable date based on locally measured conditions to a fixed date of June 15 (and a fixed end date of Sept 30). Prior to 2008, the flexible start date reflected the seasonal progression of the monsoon, with a considerable temporal gradient across the region (Fig. 1). (read more)

July 2018 SW Climate Update - ENSO Tracker

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Oceanic and atmospheric conditions remained ENSO-neutral over the last month (Figs. 1-2) and most ENSO forecasts and outlooks reflect that. On July 10, the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) identified neutral conditions in oceanic and atmospheric indicators, but with indications of warming oceanic temperatures in the coming months. The agency forecast equal chances (50 percent) of either ENSO-neutral or El Niño by fall 2018. (read more)

 

Southwest Climate Outlook July 2018 - Climate Summary

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Precipitation and Temperature: Precipitation in June ranged from record driest to much-above average (Fig. 1a); the wetter-than-average areas were those impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Bud in mid-June. June is typically dry, barring an early onset of monsoon activity, so any pre-monsoon precipitation will boost percentile rankings. June temperatures were warmer than average across all of Arizona and New Mexico (Fig. 1b), including record-warm conditions in eastern Arizona and central New Mexico. (read more)

June 2018 SW Climate Outlook - Monsoon Tracker & Tropical Storm Bud

Friday, June 22, 2018

Was our mid-June precipitation the monsoon? In 2008, the National Weather Service (NWS) changed the definition of the start of the Southwest monsoon from a variable date based on locally measured conditions to a fixed date of June 15 (and a fixed end date of Sept 30). This allowed for a clear delineation of the period of monsoon activity (108 days) and focused NWS’s messaging strategy as it pertains to the expected hazards during that period, which include extreme heat, strong winds, dust storms, flash flooding, lightning, and wildfires (see NWS Tucson monsoon information hub). Prior to 2008, the flexible start date reflected the seasonal progression of the monsoon, with a considerable temporal gradient across the region (Fig. 1). (read more)

Southwest Climate Outlook June 2018 - Climate Summary

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Precipitation and Temperature: The Southwest was characterized by below-average precipitation in May, ranging locally from record driest to near average (Fig. 1a). Temperatures were above average to much-above average across most of the Southwest, with small pockets of record-warm conditions in the northwest corner of New Mexico and along the eastern edge of the state (Fig. 1b). The March through May period exhibited similar patterns of mostly drier-than-average to record-dry precipitation (Fig. 2a) and much-above-average to record-warm temperatures (Fig. 2b). (read more)

 

Understanding Urban Heat Vulnerability and the need for Resilient Design Practice

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

**Disclaimer: This blog post was adapted from a term paper for Dr. Christopher Scott's, Adaptation and Resilience in Water Resources Systems seminar GEOG 6960. **

The U.S. Southwest is rapidly becoming an urbanized region that is characterized by an intense urban heat island and summertime heat waves. At the city scale, high levels of urbanization in addition to local rising surface temperatures can affect the quality of life for several areas across residential communities, public and commercial spaces, etc. Heat within cities arises from different ways in which the built environment impacts energy exchange between the surface and atmosphere. This relationship causes unevenly distributed heat patterns across urban areas and some places tend to be hotter than others. Implementing green infrastructure shows promise to enhance the resiliency of urban areas (Benedict and McMahon, 2012). However, in several situations, the lack and disproportionality of green spaces withinin low-income, marginalized communities may further increase the vulnerability to heat and augment stress to communities that are already considered to be at a greater risk to heat (Read More).

May 2018 SW Climate Outlook - May Climate Summary

Monday, May 21, 2018

After a warm and dry winter (detailed in past issues of the SW Climate Outlook), drought, fire, and poor air quality (dust and pollen) are growing concerns as spring turns to summer. In May, warm temperatures (Fig.1), including triple-digit highs (Fig. 2), are increasingly common, while average precipitation is among the lowest monthly totals for the region (Fig. 3), and additional precipitation is unlikely. At the same time, the winds are picking up due to seasonal transitional conditions (Fig. 4), further increasing fire risk (Figs. 6a-b) and impacting air quality and public safety (e.g. dust storms). (read more)

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