May 2018 Met Central - Still in La Nina Heat

Seemed like a hot May? Well yes and no. It was about what we should
expect for a La Nina.

May temperatures
continued the well above normal trend of most months
this year. Daily temperatures during May were not exceptionally
high but rather so many days of the month ran well above
average. The average daily high temperature for May was the 5th
warmest in the Sev LTER 29-year record while the mean of the daily
average temperatures was the 3rd warmest...behind 1996 and 2000.

    May Record Temperatures - High 39.2 (102.6 F), Low -7.5 (18.5 F)
    May '18 Record Temperatures - High 36.1 (97.0 F), Low -2.2 (28.0 F)

May precipitation consisted of one monsoon-type storm front that raced
through much of New Mexico on the 21st. The storm primarily clipped
the northwestern part of the refuge while the east side of the refuge
and most of the west side got little if any moisture. Precipitation
amounts on the refuge varied from 0 to 15.2 mm. The 5.9 mm average
was still less than half of a May normal.

May Meteorological Summary

                          May        May '18           May '18
Variable            Long-term* Mean    Mean           Mean Range
Mean Max Temp (C)         27.41            30.1         27.6 - 31.1
Mean Min Temp (C)          9.91            11.6          7.1 - 14.0
Mean Average Temp (C)     18.66            20.9         19.1 - 22.5
Mean R.H. (%)              27.2            16.5         15.2 - 18.5
Mean Vap Press. (mb)        5.37            3.84        3.75 - 3.91
Mean Max Wind (m/sec)      12.1            11.5         10.5 - 12.8
Mean Solar Rad. (kWh/m2)   7.96             8.70        7.72 - 9.35
Precip.(mm)                13.2             5.9          0.0 - 15.2
*Long-term refers to all of the Sevilleta met stations for 1989-2016

Albuquerque - Sevilleta Comparison

The Albuquerque area saw a similar heterogeneous pattern of rainfall
(and hail) with the May 21st storm. The intensity of the storm was
indicated by one fatality in and several rescues from the Albuquerque
drainage channels. Albuquerque has seen only 1/3 of normal
precipitation while the Sev has averaged about 60% of normal

This was the 5th hottest May in Albuquerque's 125-year record. The 4
that were warmer were 1996, 2000, 2006, and 1984. All of these were
La Nina years.... as were all the others in the top 10 except number
10, 1958.

               Loc         Precip          Normal         % of Normal
May		ABQ 	    3.0 mm         12.7 mm           24 %
                SEV         5.9 mm         13.2 mm           45 %

Year to Date    ABQ        21.4 mm         64.5 mm           33 %
                SEV        31.0 mm         53.4 mm           68 %
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Water-year Precipitation

This ends the non-monsoon portion of the water-year. This was the 7th
driest water-year in the SEV LTER 30-year tenure. the other drier were
1988-89(34.7 mm), 1995-96(25.4 mm), 2005-06(29.8 mm), 2010-11(30.5
mm), 2012-2013(25.7 mm) and 2013-14(36.2 mm). The first 4 were La
Nina winters while the last 2 were not.

     Water Year Precipitation (mm)

Month           Mean            2017-2018    
Oct             22.5              12.2 
Nov             12.4               0.0
Dec		14.3		   0.0
Jan 		 8.9		   2.6
Feb		 7.5		  12.3
Mar		12.8		  10.1
Apr             11.9   		   0.1
May   		13.2		   5.9
               102.6		  43.2     


Understandably, drought conditions continued to worsen across New Mexico during

The U.S. Drought Monitor
rates 99.4% of NM is under some drought status
with 89.4% being under severe drought conditions, and 63% being under
extreme drought(including Sev) and now 18% under exceptional drought

Curiously the Palmer Drought Severity Index
shows the Mid Rio Grande Division
as the only division not under drought conditions.


The La Nina is over. The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for the key
3.4 Nino zone ended the month at 0.0, up from -0.7 at the end of
March. The Ocean Nino Index (ONI) for the Mar-Apr-May period was
-0.4, up from -0.6 from the previous 3-month period.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) actually oscillated less this month than
during recent months going from +0.5 to +0.4. However the 5-month
running mean went from +0.50 to +0.60 - technically back into La Nina

Notables From On and Off the Sev

Things are looking very dry out on the refuge although the Larea is
blooming in places.

June Forecast

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center predicts a very much warmer than normal
June but is giving equal chances of above or below normal
precipitation for most of the state.

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