The University of Arizona

Webinar Series | CLIMAS

Webinar Series

The webinar series featured talks and dialogue on the latest climate research (including seasonal forecasts, climate, water and environmental impacts, climate change), and collaborative initiatives aimed at the exchange of knowledge between scientists, natural resource managers, water managers and other decision makers in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Each webinar featured speakers from the U.S. and Mexico. The following webinars took place between June 2012 and May 2013:

Long term and recent patterns of tropical cyclones affecting northwest Mexico, May 31, 2013

Luis M. Farfán. Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Unidad La Paz: His research focus on the weather phenomena impacting the peninsula of Baja California, Gulf of California and Pacific Ocean. He works on analysis of observations from Geostationary Satellite Server (GOES) and in the application of this information to operational numerical models (ECMWF and GFS) and research (MM5, HWRF). Phenomena of interest are convective systems that develops during the summer, including tropical cyclones and mesoscale systems in the Sierra Madre Occidental.

This webinar is an overview of the impact patterns of tropical cyclones from 1970 through 2012 using an international disaster database to identify the impact from the landfalling tropical cyclones. More than 30 landfall events occurred during the period; we examined the top 25 cyclones based on rainfall accumulation, as well as the top 10 cyclone-related disasters based on the affected population. Each event resulted in affected population from 20 000 to more than 800 000. Excessive rainfall accumulations and daily rates, over highly populated areas, are associated with the occurrence of disasters. Six of the top 10 Cyclone-related disasters occurred during El Niño and three during neutral conditions; however, looking at the top 25 events, 10 occurred during El Niño and 10 during neutral conditions.

The Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network, April 26, 2013

John S. Rozum, AICP NOAA Coastal Services Center: He is the training coordinator for the Coastal-Marine Ecosystem Based Management Tools Network- a voluntary network of tool developers and experts focused on addressing coastal management and planning issues.

Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is an innovative management approach that considers entire ecosystems, including humans and the environment, rather than managing one issue or resource in isolation. NatureServe’s EBM Tools Program, with support from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, is working to develop a knowledge base of tools, primarily software and other highly documented methods, that can help implement EBM processes in coastal and marine environments and their watersheds.
Some of the primary uses for EBM tools are: a) Collecting, managing and processing data about ecosystems and human communities; b) Generating and visualizing scenarios of potential consequences of different management decisions on natural resources and the economy; c) Facilitating communication with the public and stakeholder involvement in planning and management processes.
When used in an effective process, these tools: 1) Help incorporate a wide array of ecosystem and human considerations into decision making; 2) Save time and help explore a wider range of alternatives by automating analyses and processes that occur repeatedly; 3) Help build collaboration among diverse project participants by creating a forum where stakeholder groups learn about and need to account for each others’ goals and concerns.

US Southwest drought and seasonal forecast in northern Mexico: Implications for the border region, April 12, 2013

Bradfield Lyon, Climate Program International Research Institute for Climate and Society The Earth Institute, Columbia University: His research activities are focused on observational and modeling diagnostic studies of climate variability ranging from seasonal to interannual variability to near term climate change. He is particularly interested in investigating causal mechanisms, regional manifestations, prediction, and impacts of drought. 

Martín Ibarra Ochoa, Servicio Metereológico Nacional, Consejo Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), Mexico: He is in charge of the Seasonal Forecast Project at the Servicio Meteorologico Nacioanal. Martín focus on medium and long term forecast information and have provided useful information and forecast for the northern Mexico region during our webinar series.

Meteorologists will present and discuss the seasonal climate forecast for the spring-summer 2013 season for the southwest of the United States and northern Mexico with special focus on the border region. Currently, the conditions suggests a dryier late spring and higher risk of persistent and severe drought during early summer along the border states of Mexico and Unites States. What are the prospects for drought in our region? What are the implications for agriculture, water management, and other activities?

Transborder Winter Forecasts, December 7, 2012

Martín Ibarra. CONAGUA-SMN, Mexico

Meteorologists from Mexico will present and discuss the seasonal climate forecasts for the winter 2012-2013 season. Currently, the Pacific Ocean is in a “neutral condition.” What are the prospects for precipitation in our region? Is there a chance that El Niño will re-develop? What are the implications of “neutral” for agriculture, water management, and other activities?

Southwest Climate Change Assessment, November 9, 2012

Margaret Wilder & Gregg Garfin. School of Geography and Development & Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona.

This webinar presentation examines climate-related vulnerability in the western portion of the U.S.-Mexico border region from the Pacific coast of California/Baja California to El Paso/Ciudad Juárez, focusing primarily on border counties in the United States and municipalities in Mexico. The material is part of a new climate assessment report for the United States. The webinar will report on the drivers of climate-related vulnerability (demographic, socioeconomic, institutional), and the potential impacts of climate change across multiple sectors (e.g., water, agriculture and ranching, and ecosystems).

Watershed-Management and Ecosystem Services in Transboundary Environments, October 12, 2012

Laura Norman, U.S. Geological Survey (

Groundwater pumping has lowered water tables and impacted instream flows in the borderlands, leaving many reaches to flow only in response to storm events or treated wastewater. In the binational Santa Cruz Watershed, a wastewater treatment plant treats effluent from twin-cities on the border, before discharging it to the river.  An explicit understanding of the benefits of maintaining flow requires the ability to assess and understand tradeoffs implicit in management decisions. I will outline a tool for modeling and visualizing these tradeoffs. We have identified and quantified ecosystem services of instream flow important to local stakeholders, including sustaining perennial flow, maintaining riparian vegetation, and providing habitat for wildlife. We modeled the potential decrease in effluent discharge and map the capability of provisioning of these ecosystem services. We compare results of service provisioning with ordinal maps of human well-being and market land price and discuss implications for binational policy and implementation.

Laura López Hoffman, School of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Udall Center for Public Policy Studies, University of Arizona (

Species that migrate through wilderness areas deliver ecosystem services to people in faraway locations. International borders rarely coincide with natural ecological boundaries. Because neighboring countries often share ecosystems and species, they also share ecosystem services. As examples, the United States and Mexico share the regulating service of agave crop pollination by long-nosed bats; Mexican free-tailed bat helps control cotton crop pests in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico; and the North American monarch butterfly provides aesthetic value as a cultural service. The concept of ecosystem services, as articulated by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, could be used as an organizing principle for transboundary conservation, because it meets many of the criteria for successful transboundary policy.  Ecosystem service can be used to frame conservation in terms of mutual interests between countries, consider a diversity of stakeholders, and provide a means for linking multiple services and assessing tradeoffs between uses of services.

Cyclone Seasonal Forecasts, September 6, 2012

Luis M. Farfán. Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE).

Historical tracks from the U.S. National Hurricane Center, rainfall reports from Mexico’s National Meteorological Service, and indicators from an international disaster database at Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain are used to assess the impacts of more than 30 landfall events that made an impact to the population.

Barry D. Keim. Louisiana State Climatologist, and Graduate Director, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin (the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico) is from 1 June to 30 November. The peak of the season is from mid-August to late October. However, deadly hurricanes can occur anytime in the hurricane season. We introduce SURGEDAT, a novel database that uses highly credible historical data to identify the location and height of maximum storm surge levels associated with both mild and extreme tropical storm events.

Drought In The Border Region, March 5 2012

Mark D Svoboda. Monitoring Program Area Leader, National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

The information presented in the webinar was culled from a report by the NDMC (Brian Fuchs, Climatologist) as part of our annual drought review found within our electronic quarterly newsletter DroughtScape. Impact information was compiled by Denise Gutzmer, Impacts Specialist. Drought classifications are based on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Martin Ibarra. Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), Mexico.

The spatial distribution of rainfall in 2011 showed marked differences between regions. The wettest areas with rainfall above 1500 mm were located south of 22 ° N in portions of Nayarit, Colima, Guerrero, Veracruz, Tabasco and Chiapas. In contrast rainfall to 50% of normal or less occurred from central regions to the north, northeast and northwest, areas with rainfall less than 25% of normal were observed in Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango and Baja California.

Organization Networks and The Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative, March 30 2012

Tereza Cavazos. Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE), Baja California, Mexico.

REDESClim is a research network formed in 2011, and supported by the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). REDESClim is an effort by the academic community to enhance the capacity of Mexico's response to hydrometeorological disasters and climate events. The network seeks to combine the collaboration of researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs, politicians and society to advance solutions to disasters associated with natural disasters in Mexico.

Jeremey J. Mikrut. US Bureau of Reclamation-Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

The Desert LCC encompasses portions of five states in the U.S. and ten states in Mexico. The Desert LCC Steering Committee consists of government and non-governmental entities in both the U.S. and Mexico.  The Steering Committee identified science priorities for 2012 that fall into 11 topics areas, such as Water, Wildlife and Plant Populations, and Soils.  One of the primary goals is to collaborate across agencies and organizations in order to address the science needs that are shared by partners.

Drought Risk Management and the Monsoon season. April 30, 2012

Carolina Neri. Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

A case study on drought planning in Mexico, which characterizes the vulnerability of water user groups, particularly in Sonora, has been useful in identifying the type of climate information needed by decision makers. This information will be included in a proposal to develop a drought early warning system for Mexico. Researchers at the Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), have initiated a project that focuses on reorienting drought policy from drought response to drought mitigation and preparedness, in collaboration with the Mexican government and stakeholders.

John J Brost. NOAA National Weather Service Tucson Arizona

The North American monsoon, variously known as the Southwest United States monsoon, the Mexican monsoon, or the Arizona monsoon, is experienced as a pronounced increase in rainfall from an extremely dry June to a rainy July over large areas of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. These summer rains typically last until mid-September when a drier regime is reestablished over the region. Geographically, the monsoon precipitation region is centered over the Sierra Madre Occidental in the Mexican states of Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora and Chihuahua.

Monsoon Forecasts and Research, June 21 2012

John J Brost. NOAA National Weather Service Tucson Arizona

Deeper moisture from the south is expected to move into the state over the next couple of days. The best chances are in southeastern Arizona and that could definately enhance activity for us in the Valley in the way of outflow winds and dust and also storm development. Wednesday, looks to be most active during the morning and early afternoon hours with storm chances tapering during the evening just in time for 4th of July fireworks displays. The extra humidity and clouds will drop temperatures on Wednesday into the mid 90s.

Ernesto Dos Santos Caetano. Instituto de geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Mexican monsoon is associated to precipitation patterns that combines typical of the North American monsoon and large-scale mid-latitude cyclones with thunderstorms which have very different spatial/temporal distribution characteristics. The difficulty in understanding the variability of summertime convective activity in the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico results from the complex interactions between atmospheric circulation features at both the synoptic and mesoscale and the extremely varied topography. The larger-scale atmospheric motions may control the distribution of water vapor and the general stability or instability in the atmosphere. Local topographic effects are critical to the geographic and even temporal distribution of convective activity.