MetCentral - Febrary 2017 - Very Warm February with One Saving Storm

February temperatures
continued the warm trend that has been the case
through much of the winter. The month began with an 11-day warm spell
that included 4 new daily high temperature records. After a
precipitous drop for a couple of days, temperatures returned to near
or above normal for most of the rest of the month with 2 more daily
high temperature records falling. Ultimately average daily
temperatures for the month were basically tied as the 2nd warmest in
Sev LTER's 28 year record.

    February Record Temperatures - High 26.5 (79.7 F), Low -31.3 (-24.3 F)
    February '17 Record Temperatures - High 26.0 (78.8 F), Low -12.2 (10.0 F)

February moisture on The Sev came primarily during a 3 day storm around
mid-month. For the 4th month in a row the west side of the refuge saw
more precipitation than did the east side.

For this 2017 calendar winter (Dec,2016-Feb 2017) the Sevilleta total
precipitation has been 69 mm (2.71"). The average total for this
period is 33.3 mm (1.31"). So this is the 3rd wettest winter in the
28-year LTER record behind 2005 (92.3 mm) and 1992 (97.9 mm). These
last 2 were both El Nino winters. On the other end of the winter
moisture spectrum the Dec- Feb total for 2005-06 was a mere 1.0
mm... yes a La Nina.

February Meteorological Summary

                   February     February '17     February '17
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         13.62           16.4         14.7 - 17.0
Mean Min Temp (C)         -2.81            0.0         -3.4 - 2.2
Mean Average Temp (C)      5.40            8.2          6.8 - 9.3
Mean R.H. (%)              42.7           43.9         41.9 - 46.5
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       3.59            4.46        4.31 - 4.56
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      9.7            10.0          9.5 - 11.4
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   4.46            4.44       4.15  - 4.85
Precip.(mm)                7.5            10.0          4.1 - 16.9
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2016

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque's precipitation at the airport was slightly less than the
Sevilleta average but Albuquerque normally tends to run wetter than
the Sevilleta for this month.

This was the 5th warmest February in Albuquerque's extended record.

Albuquerque calendar winter total was 48.3 mm which is well ahead of
its long-term average of 34.6 mm.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
February      	ABQ        8.9 mm         12.2 mm            73 %
                SEV       10.0 mm          7.5 mm           133 %

Year to Date    ABQ        35.3 mm        21.9 mm           161 %
                SEV        43.8 mm        15.5 mm           282 %
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Water-year Precipitation

Although February did not exceed it's normal by so much, it still
makes 4 months in a row of above average precipitation and the total for
Oct through February was over 180% of normal.

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)

Month           Mean            2016-2017    
Oct             22.2               5.1       
Nov             11.2              45.1
Dec		14.1		  23.1
Jan              8.0		  33.9
Feb 		 7.5		  10.0
                63.0		  117.2 


The drier February meant that while the area of NM classified by the
U.S. Drought Monitor, still only about 2.5%, the
area classified as drier than normal increased from 12% last month to 23%
this month.

The Palmer Drought Index
shows that much of the west and northwestern
part of the state is running wetter than normal but the Central Highlands is the
one climate division classified as under moderate drought.

Snotel sites in northern NM are still mostly at or above normal for
snow pack depths to date but virtually all sites in southern NM are
showing snow packs well below normal or completely gone. The big
concern is that the warmer than normal temperatures that have
persisted through the winter may start eating into the existing snow
pack very soon.


It can be safely said that La Nina of 20016-17 is over.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone went
above normal for the month and ended the month right right at 0. The
Ocean Nino Index (ONI) for the Dec-Jan-Feb period was -0.4 and thus
officially out of the La Nina Range.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was -0.1 for Feb and the 5-month
running mean is now exactly 0.0.

The models suggest that we may see a weak El Nino for next fall.

Notables from on and off the Sev

Presumably as a result of the wet winter male junipers in the Los
look almost orange from the pollen cones on them. Fortunately
for me the pollen had not begun to disperse on the 1st.

Biggest story was the extreme moisture that continued to hit all of
California causing flooding, landslides, overflowing reservoirs. This
has pulled virtually all of northern CA and much of southern CA out of
the multi-year drought that had plagued it for years.

March Forecast

Sounds like our wet spell is about to end. NOAA predicts temperatures
will be above average for March while precipitation is predicted to
run below normal.


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