September 2016 Met Central - Goldilocks Month

September on the Sev was pretty much a Goldilocks month
... not too hot and
not too cold but just right. Actually there was a stretch mid-month
that saw temperatures roll up into the 90's for a short stretch with
a couple of near misses on record highs but then temperatures dropped
back down into cooler ranges. In point of fact the only new daily
record was a new daily record low on the 24th but that was only
because that date had one of the warmest lows for that day in the
month. Mean daily highs, daily lows and daily means all ran slightly
above normal for the month.

    September Record Temperatures - High 37.6 (102.9 F), Low -3.3 (41 F)
    September '16 Record Temperatures - High 34.6 (95.5 F), Low 2.2 (47.4 F)

September precipitation did not carry on with August's above normal
precipitation trend. There were actually a lot of days (15) with
measurable moisture somewhere on the refuge but most were not large
storms so the totals at almost all Sevilleta gauges came in well below
normal. The exception was the gauge in the Ladrones that got its
normal monthly total in the matter of an hour (36 mm) on the 2nd and
got a second big shot (19.9 mm) on the 29th... for a 65.5 mm monthly
total. So the 21.4 mm refuge wide average was somewhat skewed by the
this single site. Average for the remaining stations was more like 17
mm. Long term average for September is 35.7 mm.

September Meteorological Summary

                 September     September '16    September '16
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         28.50          28.9          26.6 - 29.9
Mean Min Temp (C)         12.71          12.8          11.3 - 13.9
Mean Average Temp (C)     20.60          20.8          19.3 - 21.7
Mean R.H. (%)             44.0           45.7          43.9 - 46.9
Mean Vap Press. (mb)      13.31          10.47         9.65 - 11.00
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      9.4           10.1           9.2 - 10.6
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   5.94           6.09         5.73 - 6.53
Precip.(mm)               35.7           24.1           8.4 - 65.5
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2015

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque experienced a number of monsoon-type storms during the
month. Rainfall totals around the metropolitan area for these storms
were quite variable. The ABQ airport gauge got its biggest total (and
more than half of its expected) on the 11th. There were bigger
amounts on other days around the city. Ultimately Albuquerque got
just about its normal average while the Sevilleta only got about 2/3
of its normal. The Sevilleta is still running wetter for the year-to-date.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
September	ABQ	   26.4 mm	   27.4 mm	      96 % 
		SEV 	   24.1 mm	   35.7 mm	      68 %

Year to Date    ABQ       111.6 mm        186.9 mm            60 %
                SEV       142.1 mm        191.5 mm            74 %
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Water-year Precipitation

Thus ends the water year...with a whimper rather than a bang. The
possibility of having a wetter than normal water year faded as
September slipped away. Ultimately the Sev came in at about 93% of
normal. This makes the 6th year in a row that the Sevilleta has come
in below average for the water year. The last wetter than normal year
was 2009-10

     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
Sep		35.7		  24.1
               239.9		 224.6


The monsoon story was not as good as we might have hoped for. On a
refuge wide basis, the total for the Sevilleta for June, July, August
and September was 89.9 mm. The normal average for this period is
137.7 mm. This is actually the same as last year - 89.0 mm. Other
dry monsoons include 2005 (95.9 mm), 1989 (93.3 mm), 2012 (83.5 mm)
and the driest moonsoon in the LTER history 2011 (75.2 mm)

Some areas did do better than others. Much of Mckenzie Flats got at least
100 mm with gauges near the north end of Mckenzie getting about 150


Despite the dry September at the Sev, drought conditions improved
considerably across the rest of New Mexico.
The U.S. Drought Monitor
shows more than half of the state is no longer
considered drier than normal - up from 14% at the end of August. The
amount of the state considered under moderate drought status is only
about 4% while it was 24% at the beginning of the month.

El Nino

The El Nino/La Nina news has possibly "improved" as well. While the
predictions were for a transition into a La Nina during the upcoming
month there now seems to be a better than average chance that
conditions will be more in the neutral status. It may still be a
little too early to bank on that.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone went
from -0.7 to -0.8 during the month. The Ocean Nino Index (ONI)
dropped from -0.3 for the Jun/Jul/Aug period to -.05 for Jul/Aug/Sep.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) went up from +0.7 in August to +1.2 in
September, the highest since back in 2014 i.e. the most La Ninaish. The
5-month running mean is now +0.66 which might be considered to be in the
>+0.5 La Nina Range

Notables from on and off the Sev

Drier September has resulted in browning back of many of the grasses
on the Sevilleta. The tumble weeds seem to continue to flourish;
these could be a big problem come next spring. For being such a dry
monsoon the vegetative production appeared to be much better than
might have expected.


September was a busy month for tropical storms in the Atlantic basin.
Hurricanes Hermine at the beginning of the month (see last months Met
Central) and now Major Hurricane Matthew at the end of the month were
very newsworthy while tropical storms Ian, Julia, Karl and Lisa came
and went during the middle of the month without much fanfare.
Matthew's destruction looks like it will be epic.

October Forecast

NOAA is giving equal chances of a warmer or cooler or average October with wetter, drier or average precipitation


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