December 2017 Met Central - Still Very Warm, Still No Precipitation

La Nina continues to rule. As in November, New Mexico and most of the southwest spent most of December locked under a great big high
pressure dome. Consequently temperatures soared and precipitation was negligible. The 55 degree F average daily high temperature ran 6 degrees F warmer than the normal daily high temperature of 49 degrees F. This ties 1995 as the warmest average daily high temperature in the past 29 years. Seven out of the last eight days of the month set new
daily high temperature records. One new daily low temperature record was set as well. The average daily high temperature only ran below
normal on 6 days. With the low humidity throughout the month the night time lows ran much closer to normal so that the daily average
temperatures were only the 4th warmest in the past 29 years.

    December Record Temperatures - High 23.4 (74.1 F), Low -20.8 (-5.4 F)
    December '17 Record Temperatures - High 20.9 (69.6 F), Low -16.4 2.5 F)

December precipitation on the refuge was technically zero but not really zero. Four of the 10 stations registered rainfall but the
average for the 7 stations used for the long term calculations averaged out to less than 0.05 mm hence 0.0 Dec, precipitation.

December Meteorological Summary

                    December   December '17      December '17
Variable             Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)          9.69           12.9         10.8 - 13.7
Mean Min Temp (C)         -5.03           -4.8         -9.4 - -1.3
Mean Average Temp (C)      2.32            4.0          2.1 - 5.4
Mean R.H. (%)             54.5            35.7         31.6 - 40.2
Mean Vap Press. (mb)       3.85            2.77        2.60 - 2.86
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      8.3             7.6          7.1 - 8.6
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   3.09            3.42        3.40 - 3.68
Precip.(mm)                14.3            0.0            0 - 0.2
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2016

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

Albuquerque December precipitation was again zero for the month although there was a trace (less than 0.01") on Dec 7. This ties it with 5 other
years in the past 124 with a trace of December precipitation. This made 87 days of no measurable precipitation to end 2017. The last
precipitation was on October 5th. Both Albuquerque and the Sev ended the year with below normal precipitation although the Sev came closer
to normal than did Albuquerque.

Mean average daily temperature in Albuquerque tied for 10th warmest Dec (with 1946 and 1977) in the past 124-year.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
December	ABQ 	   0.0 mm         12.7 mm            0 %
                SEV        0.0 mm         14.3 mm            1 %

Year to Date    ABQ       194.8 mm        240.0 mm           81 %
                SEV       230.8 mm        240.1 mm           96 %
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Water-year Precipitation

The Sev is off to the slowest start for a water-year in the SEV LTER 1989-2017 record.

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)
Month           Mean            2017-2018    
Oct             22.5              12.2       
Nov             12.4               0.0
Dec		12.7		   0.0
                34.9		  12.2      


Drought conditions expanded across more of New Mexico during December. The U.S. Drought Monitor rates the Sevilleta as under moderate drought condition. Portions of western NM are now under Severe Drought conditions.


The La Nina pattern continues. The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key 3.4 Nino zone ended the month at -0.6. The Ocean Nino
Index (ONI) for the Oct-Nov-Dec period was -0.9, down from -0.7 from the previous 3-month period.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) went +0.9 in November to -0.1 for Dec. but the 5-month running mean went from +0.48 to +0.54, just into
the La Nina zone.

Notables From On and Off the Sev

Some Monthly and annual temperature and precipitation summaries for NM.

5th warmest average day time max temperature for Dec in past 123 years
6th warmest average daily temperature for Dec in past 123 years
7th driest Decin past 23 years

2nd warmest annual daily maximum temperature in past 123 years
1st warmest annual daily minimum temperature in past 123 years
1st warmest annual daily average temperature in past 123 years
80th wettest annual precipitation in past 123 years

January Forecast

NOAA is predicting a warmer than normal January but gives equal chances of being wetter or drier than normal for the month.


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