Southwest Climate Outlook March 2004

Date issued


Hydrological Drought – Hydrological drought continues in the Southwest.

• All New Mexico reservoirs are at well-below-average levels, although February and March snowfall resulted in gains at most reservoirs.

• Storage in the major Colorado River reservoirs remains well below average.

•Salt and Verde River Basin reservoirs remain well below average.

Precipitation – Recent precipitation, while beneficial in the short-term, is not sufficient to overcome multi-year precipitation and soil moisture deficits. Prior to recent and rapid melt, Arizona and New Mexico snowpacks were below average—thus spring/summer streamflows across the region are projected to be below average. Moreover, current snowpack is below average throughout the Upper

Colorado and Upper Rio Grande River Basins.

Temperature – During the past 30 days, temperatures have been above average across the Southwest—breaking records at many stations.

Climate Forecasts – Seasonal forecasts indicate increased probabilities of above-average temperatures across Arizona and New Mexico through the spring and summer months. Increased temperature implies increased evapotranspiration. Precipitation forecasts do not suggest strong probability anomalies for either above- or below-average precipitation. The U.S. Drought Outlook suggests persistent drought conditions for virtually all of Arizona and New Mexico.

ENSO – ENSO conditions are neutral and will likely remain neutral during the first half of 2004. This means greater forecast uncertainty.

Published by the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), with support from University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, the Arizona State Climate Office, and the New Mexico State Climate office.

Disclaimer. This packet 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. The user assumes the entire risk related to the use of this data. CLIMAS, UA Cooperative Extension, and the State Climate Office at Arizona State University (ASU) disclaim any and all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will CLIMAS, UA Cooperative Extension, and the State Climate Office at ASU or The University of Arizona be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.