May 2016 Met Central - Cool Month

New Sevilleta records in May.
Coolest average daily low
temperature in Sevilleta's 28 year record. Average lows were 46.6 F -
long term average is 50 F. There were 5 days with new record daily low
temperatures. Believe it or not last May was the second coolest on
record. Daytime highs were not all that warm either. The maximum
daily high on the refuge during this May was only 88.9 degrees
F... this is the lowest maximum temperature for May on record for the

    May Record Temperatures - High 39.2 (102.6 F), Low -7.5 (18.5 F)
    May '16 Record Temperatures - High 31.6 (88.9 F), Low -1.9 (14.7 F)

Low temperatures usually correlate with increased moisture and that
was indeed the case this year. One particular storm pushed the May
precipitation well past average. The 22.4 mm refuge average was over
1 and half times the normal May average. However, it should be noted
that like April the west side of the refuge got more precipitation
(23.6 mm avg) than the east side (17.0 mm avg). This is again the
consequence of storms that have moisture laden air arriving from the
west meeting cold fronts from the north meeting at the central
mountain chain passes such as Tijeras and Abo resulting in the east
winds through the canyons pushing all the moisture to the west.

Despite runaway increases in monthly temperatures recently on a global
basis this was actually the second month in row with below normal
temperatures for the Sevilleta.

May Meteorological Summary

                       May       May '16           May '16
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         27.53          25.4          22.5 - 26.5
Mean Min Temp (C)         10.02           8.3           4.7 - 10.3
Mean Average Temp (C)     18.77          16.9          15.1 - 18.3
Mean R.H. (%)             27.0           31.3          29.8 - 34.1
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       5.38           5.41         5.12 - 5.63
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)     12.1           11.5          10.1 - 12.1
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   7.93           8.23         7.69 - 8.89
Precip.(mm)               13.0           22.4          11.6 - 38.5
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2015

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque did not fare nearly so well as the Sev with regards to May
moisture. The cold fronts coming down from the north and pushing wind
through the canyon meant that little rain fell at the Albuquerque
airport gauge. Therefore, Albuquerque is running at just less than
half of its expected total year to date while the Sevilleta pulled back
to very close to expected.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
May		ABQ	    2.8 mm	   12.7 mm	      22 % 
		SEV 	   22.4 mm	   13.0 mm	     172 %

Year to Date    ABQ        30.3 mm         64.5 mm            47 %
                SEV        52.2 mm         53.8 mm            97 %
Remember to check National Weather Service Monthly highlights at:

Water-year Precipitation

May moisture also helped push the non-monsoon total of this water year
even further ahead of normal. This still fell short of the 151 mm that
would be expected for an El Nino. It became the wettest non-monsoon
since 2007. although it only barely slipped by the 132.4 mm total of

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)

Month           Mean            2015-2016    
Oct             23.2              53.5       
Nov             11.1               9.0
Dec		14.1		  20.0
Jan		 8.0		   8.2
Feb		 7.8		   2.0
Mar		13.4		   0.0
May		13.0		  22.4
               102.2		 134.7            


The May moisture across NM managed to at least maitain the status quo.

The Palmer Drought Index
shows the mid-Rio Grande district as in normal
drought status but the
U.S. Drought Monitor
shows the Sevilleta region and 37% of the state under moderate drought status, down from 43% at
the start of the month.

El Nino

It's probably safe to say that El Nino is over.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone dropped
from +0.8 to -0.1 C. The Ocean Nino Index for Mar/Apr/May was down to
+1.1 from +1.6 from the previous month.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) really oscillated again in May
going, from -1.2 in April to +0.4 in May. This is the first time that
the SOI has been positive since Feb of 2015.

Notables from on and off the Sev

Annual and perennial forbs are going wild out on the refuge.


The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a very early start The
official start to the season is June 1. Tropical Storm Bonnie barely
reached tropical storm strength before coming ashore on the South
Carolina coast over the Memorial Day weekend. It mostly just brought
lots of rain.

Actually the the hurricane season started back in January with TS Alex.
Many wanted to tack that one on to the 2015 season .

June Forecast

Predictions for the monsoon season are always pretty unpredictable.
The ENSO cycle seems to play a minimal role in what we see for
moisture during the next 4 months. Right now NOAA is giving almost
all of NM equal chances of wetter or drier for moisture for june
and also equal chances of warmer or cooler than normal for temperatures.


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