New Mexico’s 2012 weather feels increasingly like a teachable moment, though the lessons must be handled with care. As the folks in the local media-weather complex went into stormpocalypse mode over the possibility that it might actually snow this weekend, I took pause in Saturday’s paper to look back:
The storm comes as New Mexico withers through the second year of drought, with fears of a third. Federal water managers warned major irrigation and municipal water agencies this week to be prepared for shortfalls in 2013. After two dry years, water storage in most of the state’s reservoirs has been drained and current snowpack in the state’s northern mountains is less than a quarter of normal for this time of year.
The first 11 months of 2012 have been more than 2.5 degrees warmer than the long-term average, according to the National Climatic Data Center — the warmest in records going back to 1895. It is the latest warm year in a long-term trend that scientists attribute to increasing greenhouse gases. The 24 months ending Nov. 30 are also the driest such period on record, Polasko noted, with less precipitation than the worst two-year stretch during the drought of the 1950s.
See also here for more of my journalistic whining about how warm and dry it’s been.
So as I sit here on an early Sunday evening watching it not snow at our house, I’ve been finishing up my November WS Form B-91 to send in to the Albuquerque Weather Service office’s Citynet program. Final tally: 0.08 inch (0.2 cm) precip in November, 22 percent of my long term average. For the first 11 months of 2012, I’ve had 4.89 inches (12.4 cm) of precipitation, 55 percent of my mean (data back to 2000). Nine of the 11 months so far this year have been below average: