May 2015 SW Climate Podcast: Winter Recap Following a Mild Spring, El Niño Slotting into Place, and Looking Towards Summer - with Wildfire, Tropical Storms, and the Monsoon on Tap


In the May 2015 Southwest Climate Podcast, Zack Guido and Mike Crimmins reconvene to talk about the Winter patterns that fed into our current situation, and how it has actually been pretty moist and cool (for this time of year) after a very warm winter. They then turn back to El Niño - which despite being hard to predict, forecast, or describe - has given us a lot to think about. They exercise some warranted caution in putting too much stock in forecasts given the "excitement" surrounding a strong El Niño event, but the patterns in place are suggesting this enthusiasm might not be misplaced. They move on to talk about how El Niño may affect tropical storm activity and monsoon patterns looking into Summer and Fall 2015, as well as the impacts of last year's monsoon (and mild weather this Spring) on fire season. Drought and water availability present a less optimistic scenario - below average winter precipitation and above average winter temperatures for most of the Western U.S. mean snowpack is well below average heading into summer, with implications for water storage and availability.

  • 0:00 -- Intro - Our Most (Least) Favorite Month of the Year, Winter Recap & El Niño
  • 2:20 -- Recapping Winter Patterns - Precipitation, Temperature, Record Setting Averages & "Warm West / Cold East" Jetstream Patterns
  • 5:00 -- Jetstream as ENSO Precursor Pattern - Transition into an El Niño Event Now That the Atmosphere is Finally Cooperating
  • 8:30 -- Different from Last Spring - Despite Similarities with Spring 2014 (in the Models) - "Excitement" in the Models
  • 11:00 -- Caution in Forecasting El Niño - Spring Predictability Barrier - Difficulty in Modeling in the Spring, Analogs, and Small Sample Size
  • 15:00 -- Shifts in Global Circulation - How this Affects Tropical Storm Activity & Monsoon Precipitation (for the Southwest, mainly) - Flooding Hazards with El Niño
  • 19:30 -- Monsoon & Fire Season - Heading into Fire Season - Mixed Precipitation but Late/Wet/Cool Spring Tamping Down Early Fire Season - California and NW may be in trouble regarding Fire, while Monsoon Patterns will bring Summer Relief (for AZ and NM)
  • 23:30 -- Recap of Winter/Spring Patterns & Streamflow - Split Flow Jetstream and Character of Spring Storms - Very "El Niño-ish" - Recap of Streamflow Projections - Below Average Winter Precipitation Across the West (Plus High Temperatures)
  • 27:00 -- Looking Forward to the Monsoon - Hoping for a Good Monsoon That Starts on Time

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Suggested Source/Citation:

CLIMAS: Climate Assessment for the Southwest, (2015) May 2015 SW Climate Podcast - Winter Recap Following a Mild Spring, El Niño Slotting into Place, and Looking Towards Summer - with Wildfire, Tropical Storms, and the Monsoon on Tap [podcast] CLIMAS Southwest Climate Podcast. Available at: [Date Accessed]

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