Met Central - 2015 Annual Summary

Beginning at the largest scale, 2015 set a new global high temperature record- actually shattering the previous 2014 record. On a smaller scale it was only the second hottest year for the continental U.S., exceeded only by 2014 and then on the the state-wide scale, 2015 was curiously the 5th warmest and the 5th wettest in the New Mexico 1895-present record. More notable is the fact that the average minimum daily temperatures were the highest in the 1895-present record.

This was not so much the story for the Sevilleta. The refuge came in with just about average for precipitation for the year and the average daily temperature was 6th warmest in the Sevilleta's 27 year record. This figure shows the monthly precipitation for the refuge for the year. While certain months like January, May and October ran well above average, an extremely dry August and an even drier September put the brakes on the monsoon vegetation production. mm. This figure shows the average total annual precipitation for the Sevilleta over the past 27 years. The regression line is not quite significant (P=.0562) but has a slope of -2.74 mm.

Though the 2015 calendar year precipitation was virtually normal for the Sevilleta, the water year was a sadder story. A wet winter and spring produced one of the best spring growing seasons since 2010. However the very dry months of August and September combined for the 4th driest monsoon in past 27 years. The only drier were 2003, 2011, and 2012. Looking at water year precipitation for the Sevilleta for the 1989-2015 water years precipitation during the non-monsoon period came in slightly above average with 117 mm while the monsoon moisture came in well below average at 89 mm.

The 2015 mean annual temperatures actually dropped from 2014 This figure shows the comparison of 2015 temperatures with all previous years. Average annual highs, annual lows and mean daily average all popped back above average. Though 2015 is now ranked as the hottest on record this was not the case for the Sevilleta. 2012 holds that record on its much shorter period of record. On a monthly basis August and September were the months with well above average high temperatures while September and October had much higher than normal average low temperatures. May had the lowest high and low temperatures of any May on record.

Some 2015 Sevilleta Extremes

Highest Temperature           40.3 C  (104.6 F) Jun 22    Blue Grama  
Lowest Temperature           -19.2 C  (-2.5 F)  Dec 28    South Gate
Maximum Daily Precipitation   35.3 mm (1.39)    Oct 21    Blue Grama
Maximum Wind Speed      28.7 m/sec (64.4 mph)   Oct 15    Blue Grama

Monthly Notables from the year at the Sevilleta:

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Jan -    2nd wettest January in SEV LTER 27-year history

May -    Coolest May on record (1 degree F cooler than the next coolest.
         2nd wettest May on record

Aug -    Driest August on record - only 17.2 mm compared to normal of 42.2

Sept. -  4th driest Sept. in 27 year history.
         Also 4th warmest September
         small (10 acre) fire on Nunn Flats

Oct -    3rd wettest October in 27 year history and wettest month of 2015
         Warmest minimum temperature average on record

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D.M.

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