Southwest Climate Outlook March 2009

Date issued

March Climate Summary
Drought– Above-average precipitation in December–February helped improve short-term drought conditions across northwestern Arizona. In New Mexico, drought conditions worsened with 55 percent of the state experiencing some level of drought.
Temperature–The past 30 days have brought warmer-than-average temperatures. Most of Arizona and nearly all of New Mexico have been 2–8 degrees F warmer than average.
Precipitation– In the past 30 days, most of Arizona and New Mexico has had less than 50 percent of average precipitation, with areas receiving less than 25 percent of average.
ENSO– The weak La Niña event that developed in December 2008 appears to be winding down.
Snow– Above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation over the past 30 days has led to a dramatic reduction in snowpack levels across much of Arizona and New Mexico.
Climate Forecasts– Long-lead temperature forecasts show increasing chances that spring and summer temperatures in the Southwest will be similar to the warmest 10 years of the 1971–2000 period. Summer precipitation has higher chances of being similar to the wettest 10 years.
The Bottom Line– A warm and dry February has led to a dramatic reduction in snowpack. Arizona has experienced above-average precipitation since December, helping to improve short-term drought conditions across the northwestern part of the state. In New Mexico, drought conditions are worsening. While snowpack in Arizona and New Mexico are well below average, most snow monitoring stations in Colorado measure near-average or slightly below-average snow water content.

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.