August 2016 -Met Central - Big Monsoon Rains... Only on Part of Sevilleta

August was a tale of 2 halves. The cooler end of July carried on into
August with temperatures running quite near normal for the first half
of the month. The second half of the month saw a further shift to
generally cooler than normal for the remainder of the month. Average
daily highs, average daily lows and average daily means all ran
considerably below normal. This August basically tied with 2004 as
the coolest August in the Sevilleta LTER 1989-present record although
there have been a handful of years with average daily highs that ran
cooler - the most recent being 2014.

    August Record Temperatures - High 39.4 (102.9 F), Low 5.0 (41 F)
    August '16 Record Temperatures - High 35.3 (95.5 F), Low 8.6 (47.4 F)

Regarding August precipitation, it was more like a tale of two halves
and two halves? There was really quite a bit of rain activity on the
refuge during the month but as is typical with the monsoons certain
areas did much better than others. The eastern half of the refuge got
about twice as much as the western half and the northern half of the
eastern side got the most rain. Also the first half of August saw a
lot more rain than the second half. August started off very well with
sizable rain amounts on the 5th and an even larger storm on the
eastern side of the refuge on the 13th. Curiously the onset of the
cooler temperatures for the 2nd half of the month brought promises of
moisture from the weather forecasters but ultimately numerous but
almost all small storms. The refuge-wide average of 40.8 mm was
actually ever so slightly lower than long term August average of 41.3

August Meteorological Summary

                   August       August '16         August '16
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         31.74          30.1          27.8 - 31.2
Mean Min Temp (C)         16.55          15.1          13.0 - 16.5
Mean Average Temp (C)     24.14          22.6          20.4 - 23.7
Mean R.H. (%)             46.7           50.6          48.0 - 54.7
Mean Vap Press. (mb)      12.64          12.65        11.90 - 13.14
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      9.9           10.1           8.5 - 10.9
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   6.68           6.34         6.02 - 6.80
Precip.(mm)               41.3           40.8          25.8 - 68.0
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2015

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque's Sunport station sort of mirrored the west side with about
half of the Sev average and about half of the Albuquerque long term
average. While more than half of the days of the month recorded at
least a trace of precipitation at the airport about half of those were
only trace amounts and more than half of the sunport total came from a
single storm on the 4th. For the year to date Albuquerque is running
about half of normal while the Sevilleta is running just about 3/4 of

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
August		ABQ	   21.8 mm	   40.1 mm	      54 % 
		SEV 	   40.8 mm	   41.3 mm	      99%

Year to Date    ABQ        85.2 mm        159.5 mm            53 %
                SEV       118.0 mm        155.8 mm            74 %
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Water-year Precipitation

While slipping a little further behind normal for the water-year the
Sev is still within striking range to finish the water year on the
positive side of the ledger. Average September precipitation on the Sev is
35.7 mm (1.41).

     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
Jun		14.7		   9.8
Jul		46.0		  15.2
Aug		41.3		  40.8
               204.2		 200.5   


The monsoon story improved but continues to be rather bleak although, again,
certain areas have done decidedly better than others.
On a refuge wide basis the total for the Sevilleta for June, July,
August has been 65.8 mm The normal average for this period is 102.0
mm. It's going to take a very large September to get to average for
the entire monsoon - 137.7 mm (5.42)

On the monsoon front for Albuquerque, on average we can expect to see
89.6 mm of precipitation for June, July and August. So far ABQ has
received only 52 mm.


Drought conditions remained relatively stable with mostly an
improvement in certain parts of the state.

U.S. Drought Monitor
shows about 24% of the state still in
moderate drought status. The portion of the state classified as not
under any drought went from 5% to 14% during August.

El Nino

Headed toward La Nina

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone mostly
leveled out, going from -0.5 at the end of July to -0.7 C at the end
of August. Lower than -0.5 is considered La Nina range. The Ocean Nino
Index (ONI) dropped from +0.2 for the May/Jun period to -0.3 for
the Jun/Jul/Aug.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) went up just a little bit during
August from +0.4 to +0.7 while the 5-month running mean went up tp to

Notables from on and off the Sev

The big August on Mckenzie Flats has resulted in a huge flush of
vegetation. This includes grasses, forbs and Snake Weed.. also tumble
weed. The seemingly greenest areas are in the northern portion of
McKensie Flats where as much as 61.5 mm (2.42) fell at the partial met
station near Black Butte on Aug 13th. The total precipitation for
August for this site (83.8 mm) was a little over twice as much as the
40.8 mm refuge average.

Early in August a non-tropical storm system parked itself over
Louisiana and proceeded to dump inches and inches of rain for days on
end causing devastating. Damage is considered to be greater than
anything since hurricane Sandy.

Bronco Well is no more.


Hurricane activity in the Atlantic picked up during August with 4
named storms forming in the Atlantic during the month. Of note
Hurricane Hermine did not actually get named until September 1 but
then proceeded to strengthen quickly and come ashore on the Florida
panhandle on Sep 2 and then race across GA, SC and NC and continue up
the Atlantic seaboard ruining a whole lot of people's Labor day plans.
Hard to believe that this was the first hurricane to make landfall on
the Florida coast since 2005.

In the Pacific - a rare event. Two hurricanes were simultaneously
steaming toward the Hawaiian Islands. Models predict that the leading
one, Madeline would pass south of the islands while the trailing one
would pass north of them. Curiously enough these forecasted (and then
actual) misses by both were due to something called the Fujiwhara
effect. This phenomenon causes 2 hurricanes in close proximity to each
other to not only spin around the eye of each respective eyes but to
also spin around a center point half way between the both of them.

August Forecast

Lots of moisture still around at the beginning of September.
Enough to dump over 35 mm at the weather station in the foohills of
the Ladrones.

NOAA predicts that September will mostly likely have warmer than
normal temperatures. Precipitation is given equal chances of above or
below normal.


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