November 2016 I - Bullseye

Just as I was trying to wrap up the October monthly Met Central report
something happened that was a bit of a distraction. November has
seldom been a very wet month on the Sevilleta. The long term average
for November for the 28-year LTER tenure is 11.1 mm. Back in 1991 the
refuge saw a total of 32.0 mm (1.26") and then in 1994 that so-called
record total was eclipsed by a 32.9 mm total. Since then the biggest
total was 28.5 in 2000.

With that in mind, you may have noticed that there has been a little
bit of rain over the last couple of days. The Albuquerque airport
gauge reported 0.66" (16.8 mm) for the period from Nov 2 thru Nov 5.
Well, the long term average total for Albuquerque is 14.5 mm so this
is certainly a reasonable start for the month.

Returning to the Sevilleta, the average total for the same Nov-2-5
period was 41.8 mm (1.65")! That in itself is amazing but there are
a couple of other aspects that are also noteworthy. This storms had
a back-door cold front associated with it that pushed east wind
through the central mountain chain for much of Friday the 4th. This
wind is almost certainly the reason that Albuquerque got the little
that it did. In a similar manner the winds that cut thru Abo Pass
affected the east side totals on the Sevilleta while the the west
side received huge amounts of rain as a huge moisture plume streamed
up the Rio Grande Valley. This resulted in the west side stations
seeing an average total of 52.2 mm (2.06"). The Sevilleta gauge up
in the Ladrones recorded 62.0 mm (2.44"). Returning to Albuquerque,
while the wettest November in the record is 4.70" in 1905, the second
wettest was 1991 with a 1.93" total. The National Weather Service
reported that Socorro received 3.03" while Belen got 1.84" for the
Nov 2-5 period

The thing that really makes this so anomalous is we are supposedly
going into a La Nina winter. For the 7 years that NOAA considered La
Nina's, the average Nov precipitation on the Sevilleta has been 8.1
mm. Actually the average precipitation for the non-monsoon (Oct-May)
period for La Nina years is about 50 mm. Finally Remember that this
is only the first week of November.

D.M.

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