NOAA Predicts Drought Conditions in Southwest US to Worsen

NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center seasonal drought outlook for the period from August through October indicates already dry conditions across parts of Arizona and New Mexico are likely to worsen in coming months. The official outlook calls for current severe drought conditions to persist across north-central portions of New Mexico and northeast Arizona while developing across much of the remainder of Arizona and extreme western parts of New Mexico.

Projected drought conditions through October. Source: NOAA. Click to enlarge.

Through mid-July, the summer monsoon has started fairly weak and little rainfall has been observed. The monsoon typically peaks during the month of August. Official Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlooks favor below average precipitation in these areas August through October.

Factors leading to the forecast of enhanced chances for drier-than-normal conditions in the Southwest during the above periods include coupled ocean-atmosphere global climate forecasts and historical conditions during the late summer when transitioning from El Niño to La Niña.

La Niña may also provide wetter-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest during fall 2010 and winter 2010-2011.

Other important areas highlighted in this outlook include continued severe to exceptional drought conditions across many areas of Hawaii and forecasts for improvement across moderate drought areas in the mid-Atlantic and severe/extreme drought areas of the upper Great Lakes and lower Mississippi Valley respectively.

Warmest June on record. Separately, NOAA released figures showing that June was the fourth consecutive month that was the warmest on record for the combined global land and surface temperatures (March, April, and May were also the warmest). This was the 304th consecutive month with a combined global land and surface temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below average temperatures was February 1985.

It was the warmest June on record for the land surfaces of the globe. Previous record was set in 2005. The land surface temperature exceeded the previous record by 0.11°C (0.20°F). This large difference over land contributed strongly to the overall global land and ocean temperature anomaly.

The worldwide oceans experienced the fourth warmest June on record. Sea surface temperatures across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to decrease, damping ocean surface temperatures.

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