Southwest Climate Outlook March 2011

Date issued

Drought– The continuation of unusually dry weather across southern Arizona and New Mexico has caused drought conditions to expand and intensify over the past 30 days. Much of southeast Arizona and southern New Mexico are now classified under severe to extreme drought status.

Temperature– Temperatures this last month have been much warmer than average in New Mexico and near average or slightly cooler than average in Arizona.

Precipitation– La Niña is living up to its reputation with extremely dry conditions across most of New Mexico and southern Arizona.

ENSO– La Niña continues to weaken but will continue to impact weather across the western U.S. through spring. There is growing evidence that ENSO-neutral conditions will return to the Pacific Ocean by summer.

Climate Forecasts– Seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks, influenced by this winter’s La Niña event and recent warming trends, call for warmer-than-average temperatures across the Southwest through the spring and summer and drier-than-average conditions through spring.

The Bottom Line– Once again this month, conditions across much of the Southwest have been dominated by the ongoing La Niña event. Though there is evidence that the La Niña is weakening, most of southern Arizona and New Mexico are likely to continue feeling the impacts of the dry winter. While the northwestern part of Arizona has seen some reprieve from recent drought conditions, the low precipitation and subsequently dry soils across much of the southern portions of both states will continue to have an impact. Unfortunately the forecasts do not offer much optimism, with the outlook for the remainder of the spring being warm and dry for most of the region.

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.