the monsoon arrived, and the citizens of Tucson and Albuquerque did rejoice

The dewpoint yesterday (Tues. June 28, 2016) passed a sort of vaguely science-based but somewhat arbitrary threshold for the start of the monsoon in Albuquerque – three consecutive days above 47F (8.3C): They’re partying in Tucson, too: It's official! The monsoon is here https://t.co/Aq14D9L3Aj via @tucsonstar — mike_crimmins (@mike_crimmins) June 28, 2016

New outlook shifts odds slightly toward dry 2016-17 across Colorado River Basin

At the risk of driving faster than is prudent on a twisty mountain road at night, the new 2016-17 climate outlook released yesterday does not look particularly encouraging for the Colorado River Basin: That’s December 2016 – February 2017. Browns mean odds are shifted toward dry. A reminder that the maps can be a little …

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A drying trend forecast for the Southwest

Today’s long lead outlook from the Climate Prediction Center is enough to make a southwestern water manager long a second consecutive busted forecast*. With La Niña in the offing, the maps show creeping brown across the Four Corners states by August and not letting up until late spring of 2017: * Last winter’s forecast, for a …

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Early melt in the West’s snowpack

April and early May have been extraordinarily warm in parts of the western United States, leading to early snowmelt, according to the USDA’s first-week-of-May snowpack update: During April, Western snowpack dropped at record speed, according to data from the fifth and final 2016 forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “In …

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One of the driest February-March’s in Albuquerque history

Correction (update?): As of Friday, March 25, 2016, it’s now not likely to rain in March after all. Correction (update?): It might rain after all!   In 1934, the official Albuquerque weather station received 0.04 inches of rain in February and 0.01 in March. This year, we received 0.05 in February. So far, we’ve gotten …

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The warm, dry spring pushing Colorado River reservoir forecast levels down

This month’s US Bureau of Reclamation reservoir forecast model runs show the implications of the warm, dry spring, with a drop of 620,000 acre feet and six feet in elevation in the estimated end-of-year storage in Lake Powell, the major reservoir in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Here’s my long term forecast graph, updated with …

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New evidence that a warming climate is already reducing Colorado River flows

Connie Woodhouse at the University of Arizona and colleagues have a new paper presenting the most direct link yet between a greenhouse-warmed climate and reduced flows in the Colorado River. Modeling has for many years projected such an effect in the future, but the new Woodhouse et al. paper (Increasing influence of air temperature on …

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What does it mean to have “drought” in Yuma?

In my endless puzzling over the meanings we attach to the word “drought”, there is this, from yesterday’s Climate Prediction Center seasonal drought outlook: What does it mean to talk about “drought” in places like Yuma or the Imperial Valley that average less than 4 inches (10 cm) of rain a year, and that get …

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