Southwest Climate Outlook October 2013

Date issued

October Climate Summary

Drought: Drought conditions do not often change this time of year and remain similar to those 30 days ago. Currently, moderate or more severe drought covers 62 and 75 percent of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively.

Temperature: Several storm systems passed through the Southwest, bringing cooler-than-average conditions. Temperatures have been between 2 and 6 degrees F below average in Arizona but warmer in New Mexico.

Precipitation: Precipitation generally has been less than 50 percent of average in the Southwest in the last 30 days, except in northern parts of both states, where a storm around October 10 delivered rain and snow.

Water Supply: Wet conditions in September boosted water storage in the Southwest, with the Pecos River in New Mexico and small reservoirs benefitting most. Reservoir storage in the region, however, remains much below average.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO): ENSO-neutral conditions, which have persisted for more than a year, likely will continue through the winter.

Precipitation Forecasts: Seasonal forecasts for the November 2013–January 2014 period call for above-average temperatures in all of Arizona and New Mexico and below-average precipitation for all of New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

On The Horizon: October is a transition season in which the mechanism of precipitation shifts to winter frontal storms. For upcoming months, the consistency of precipitation and cool temperatures can help establish early snowpacks, which are vital for replenishing regional water supplies.

Editor's Note:

In 2002, during the early stages of an expansive and intense drought, which largely continues today in the Southwest, CLIMAS launched End InSight, an apt name for a one-year experiment in learning how to deliver timely, credible, and relevant drought information. This venture morphed into the Southwest Climate Outlook (SWCO) as a result of extensive user input, becoming one of the region’s flagship resources for routine climate monitoring. To keep in step with calls for a concise product and to confront time challenges of producting a comprehensive monthly publication posed to our research program, SWCO has received a makeover.

The upshot is that CLIMAS will pare down SWCO and deliver a pithy monthly summary of contemporary climate phenomena such as the monsoon, snowpack, and El Niño forecasts, along with a concise climate narrative. We will also publish our unique tea-cup reservoir graphics to summarize water supplies (except this month due, to the federal shutdown). In this new format our focus on delivering value-added climate information—a mainstay for SWCO since the beginning—will endure.

If the new SWCO does or does not have the same value to you, we’d love to hear about it. Feedback from our readers, positive or negative, will inform future SWCO versions and other CLIMAS products. After all, SWCO emerged from our readers’ insights 11 years ago.

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.