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Published May 22, 2013
Temperature(data through 5/15/13)
Data Source(s): High Plains Regional Climate Center
Temperatures since the start of the 2013 water year on October 1 have been warmest in southwestern Arizona and coolest in the higher elevations of north-central New Mexico (Figure 1a). Many storm tracks this winter passed through Utah and Colorado, with only a few dipping down into Arizona and New Mexico. This led to warmer-than-average temperatures in southern portions of both states and below-average temperatures in many regions in northern areas (Figure 1b). This winter was also characterized by an ENSO-neutral event, which enabled a more north-to-south meandering jet stream typical of neutral events. Consequently, temperatures in the region swung from colder-than-average to warmer-than-average as storms passed through the region.
During the past 30 days, the temperature gradient radically shifted from temperature anomalies increasing in a north-south pattern to east-west (Figures 1c–d). The warmest temperatures were in central and western Arizona. Cold conditions in eastern New Mexico stemmed from late winter and early spring cold fronts moving through Colorado and wafting down through New Mexico into Texas. The storms were cold but did not bring moisture to the parched New Mexican landscape.
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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