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Published April 24, 2013
Temperature(data through 4/17/13)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Since the start of the 2013 water year on October 1, temperatures have reflected elevation differences, with the warmest conditions occurring in the southwest deserts and the coolest conditions in the higher elevations of Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 1a). The coldest temperatures were reported in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Across most of Arizona and western New Mexico, temperatures have been within 1 degree Fahrenheit of average (Figure 1b). This is the typical winter temperature pattern, even though this winter saw high month-to-month variability. For example, while warmer-than-average conditions prevailed in December, March, and the first half of April, temperatures during January and February were below average.
During the past 30 days, only one significant storm system passed through the Southwest, and it was a relatively warm system. Consequently, temperatures were near average in New Mexico and 2–4 degrees F warmer than average for most of Arizona (Figures 1c–d). The warmer-than-average spring, however, does not necessarily portend a warmer-than-average summer. Summer temperatures are moderated by precipitation, and it is too early to project how the monsoon will play out. Nonetheless, warming trends in recent decades suggest elevated chances for above-average temperatures this summer if the monsoon is not vigorous.Notes:
The water year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. As of October 1, 2012, we are in the 2013 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 1981–2010. 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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