Monsoon Update

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, this year's monsoon has not officially begun... at least not on the Sevilleta... at least not according to my criteria. Lots of moisture has been reported throughout the rest of NM but the Sev seems to be living under a dome. Granted there has been some rain somewhere on the Sev on every day but 3 this month but the maximum daily total for any one station is still only 13.0 mm. I have seen reports from other stations around NM of well over 50 mm events. This disparity is exemplified by the difference between Albuquerque and the Sevilleta. Albuquerque has seen 74.2 mm of rain so far in July which is approaching double its normal July precipitation total and ties it as the 8th wettest July in Albuquerque's 123 year recorded history. It should be noted that this is still well behind last years' July when Albuquerque got 88.6 mm for its 4th wettest July.

However, contrary to the ordinary, while precipitation has been below normal, on the Sevilleta, temperatures have also run well below normal. Through July 20th, daily high temperatures have run above normal for only one day. In fact we are on track to record the coolest July in the Sev LTER history.

So with regards to the monsoon contest, we are quickly approaching the tail end of the Monsoon Contest entries. July 24 is the last entry which means that we quickly need a >20 mm storm by July 27th at 5:00 PM to have a valid winner from this crop of predictions. I'm telling myself it's not time to panic... yet.

As a side note, the rain gauge at San Diego's Lindberg Field recorded 1.69" (43 mm) of rain over this past weekend. Mind you San Diego does not have Monsoon Contests as their average total rain fall for June, July and August is a whopping 0.14" (3.6 mm). In fact this single storm exceeded San Diego's total July rainfall for the past 100 years. Even worse than that, the 0.38" of rain that downtown Los Angeles got this past week end is about a third of their TOTAL July precipitation for the past 139 years - 1.17" ... counting this year.

D.M.

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