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Published June 20, 2011
June Climate Summary
Drought– Drought conditions intensified across southeast Arizona and much of New Mexico over the past 30 days, with extreme and exceptional drought now covering much of these areas.
Temperature– In the last month temperatures in Arizona mostly have been between 2 and 6 degrees F cooler than average, while the eastern half of New Mexico has been 2 to 6 degrees F warmer than average.
Precipitation– Scant rainfall during May meant no reprieve from dry conditions in New Mexico and southern Arizona, where southwestern drought conditions are most severe.
ENSO– Near-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean were present again this month, providing further evidence that ENSO-neutral conditions have returned. Forecasts indicate a high probability that neutral conditions will persist through the end of 2011. .
Climate Forecasts– The July–September monsoon precipitation forecast is equal chances for above-, below-, and near-average rainfall, while forecasts call for increased chances for above-average temperatures during this period.
The Bottom Line– Impacts from a dry winter are often not felt until spring. This year the point has been hammered home, as widespread and exceptional drought conditions have combined with strong winds to fan fires across the region. Both Arizona and New Mexico have set records for the most acres burned in those states, with more than 750,000 acres charred in Arizona and another 630,000 in New Mexico as of June 17. Above-normal significant fire potential is forecasted to continue across most of the Southwest through July. Monsoon storms likely will quell fire risk and improve drought conditions, but some indicators hint at a late arrival—the monsoon typically arrives in the first week of July for southern Arizona and New Mexico. Seasonal forecasts for the entire monsoon period, however, do not indicate if total rainfall will be above, below, or near average.
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.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer