Southwest Climate Outlook October 2011 Water Year in Review

Date issued

October Climate Summary

Drought- The drought situation has changed very little across the Southwest over the past 30 days, with all of Arizona and almost all of New Mexico still experiencing some level of drought. More than 40 percent of Arizona and 85 percent of New Mexico are experiencing severe or more intense drought.

Temperature- It has been a cooler-than-average start to the water year in northern Arizona and New Mexico. Southeastern New Mexico continues to be hot.

Precipitation- The past 30 days have been wetter than average in parts of the northern tier of Arizona and New Mexico, but dry conditions continue in the southern part of both states.
ENSO- Confidence has increased that the La Niña event will stick around this winter and likely deliver below-average precipitation to most of Arizona and New Mexico for the second consecutive year.

Climate Forecasts- Seasonal forecasts call for increased chances for above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation through the winter.

The Bottom Line- Drought conditions currently grip most of the Southwest and there is little indication this will change in the coming months. A pool of cold water beneath the sea surface in the tropical Pacific Ocean likely will maintain at least a weak La Niña event through the winter. Because La Niña conditions often cause winter storms to track north of the Southwest, precipitation forecasts call for below-average rain and snow and drought is expected to expand and intensify across the region. La Niña events often enable the jet stream to meander more in a north-south direction, which can cause Arctic air to flow into the Southwest. This occurred in February 2011 when record-cold weather froze plants and pipes throughout 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.