Friday, September 26, 2014

Last week rainfall events-Hurricane Odile

During the past week, starting Tuesday 16th, Hurricane Odile and moisture from the remnants produced heavy rainfall and caused flooding over the Baja California area and the southwestern United States.  We had a significant amount of rain in a relatively short period of time. The soil quickly gets saturated and water starts to accumulate.  Here, in New Mexico, we do not have a lot of natural hazards but flooding tops out on the list and causes inconvenience.

Photo 1-Heavy runoff in North of Rodeo, NM. Photo by David DuBois

Photo 2-Heavy runoff in North of Rodeo, NM. Photo by David DuBois
Photo 3-Playa West of Lordsburg, NM. Photo by David DuBois

Flash flood concerned portions of Eastern New Mexico and Western Texas ,but at the same time it eased the droughts in some zones of the Southwest region, where some areas have been experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions.  The NM Drought Monitoring Work Group met past Tuesday, 23 of September, for their monthly meeting and they agree in modify the current U.S. Drought Monitor map for New Mexico. According to the Drought Summary from the National Weather Service, Albuquerque NM, drought was removed from portions of southeast New Mexico, but 63% of the state is still in moderate to extreme drought and 30% is still in severe to extreme drought. The none drought category increases from 3 to 16%, which reflects about 13% of improvement in Southwest of New Mexico (figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1: U.S. Drought Monitor Weekly Comparison. Left map shows data from September 16, 2014 and right map shows September 23, 2014.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Figure 2: U.S. Drought Monitor for September 23, 2014.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Monsoon has been active late in the Monsoon season and provided moisture during the past weeks. Input from Hurricane Odile impulsed more humidity this last week.
 Time Lapse of the Organ Mountains on September 19, 2014. Video by D. DuBois

-Cristina Gonzalez

Monday, June 30, 2014

USRCRN Stations

The New Mexico Climate Center will soon be able to gather climate data from even more monitoring stations in New Mexico with the addition of 15 stations that were formerly part of the U.S. Regional Climate Reference Network (USRCRN). Soon the precipitation and temperature data form these sites will be available through our website.

The USRCRN was a pilot project set up in 2009-2011 by NOAA's National Climate Data Center.  The project began in the Southwest United States. The high-quality weather stations in the network are spaced at 130 km spatial resolution and are focused on gathering temperature and precipitation information in order to detect regional climate signals. The sites were carefully chosen and many stations are situated in remote areas. The stations in New Mexico started recording data in 2009. (Note that this network is not the same one as the U.S. Climate Reference Network.)

Map of USRCRN sites in New Mexico and Arizona (shown in black). The blue points are sites in the USCRN network. Map from

Unfortunately, budget cuts mean that the data from many of these USRCRN stations stopped being ingested and made available at the USRCRN website as of June 1, 2014. Five of the stations in New Mexico were de-installed. Theses stations were at Kiowa and Rita Blanca Grasslands (Clayton), BLM near Kenna (Elida),  BLM Hagerman, Kiowa and Rita Grasslands (Mills), and BLM near Ramon (Vaughn). (The equipment from these sites will be divided up and given to climate offices in the Southwestern states.) Management of the 15 remaining stations will be moved to various local individuals and organizations who are willing to help. We have had strong commitments for most of them. (One of these stations is the highest in the network at 10,000 feet on Magdalena Ridge.) The remaining stations will still collect precipitation and temperature data; the issue will be finding a way to ingest that data into our website. We're working now to find a way to get those data into our website.

The USRCRN station at Carrizozo in Lincoln County, New Mexico. 
The following diagram describes the set-up of each station (image from

The data loggers on the remaining open stations are still collecting the data from the  precipitation gauges and the temperature sensors. The collected information goes to the GOES satellite through the GOES antenna. Our task is to find a way to get that information from the satellite.