Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monsoonal moisture remains to the west of NM - Yesterday's precipitation was mainly west of the Rio Grande with some decent reports in the higher elevations of Grant County and in the Las Cruces area.
 Our highest amounts from the CoCoRaHS network were in Las Cruces ranging from 0.01 to 0.89 inches.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New CoCoRaHS volunteers needed

CoCoRaHS--the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network-- is one of the programs the NM Climate Center participates in. It provides an opportunity for ordinary New Mexicans who have an interest in weather to become volunteer weather observers and record precipitation data for their part of the state. There are currently more than 300 volunteer stations reporting around the state. New volunteers are encouraged to join.

CoCoRaHS is a non-profit and community-based network of weather observers who record daily participation at their individual stations. It originated out of the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998 and has since grown to a nationwide network of observers.
Precipitation in New Mexico on July 27, 2012 as recorded by CoCoRaHS observers.

New Mexico state climatologist Dave DuBois is the state coordinator. There are several regional and county coordinators around the state. More than 500 stations in New Mexico have made reports in the past two years. More than 300 made reports in the month of June 2012. Some of the volunteers have been observing for seven years now. The weather data provided by CoCoRaHS volunteers is used by the National Weather Service, other meteorologists and hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities, the USDA, engineers, mosquito control, farmers and ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts and teachers and students.

Becoming an observer is easy. You sign up at the CoCoRaHS website and buy an inexpensive rain gauge from Weather Your Way or ambient weather. You can get simple training in how to measure rain, snow, and hail correctly from the CoCoRaHS website or from a local coordinator. An account is created for you when you sign up website, and you sign in every morning to record what you observed. It's important to enter the data as often as you can, even if the only thing your rain gauge is measuring is bugs and dust.  But don't worry if you have to go out of town or miss a few days for some reason--you can create multiple day reports.

My family has a rain gauge in our backyard, and we make observations for CoCoRaHS. We find that being part of the network is interesting, especially now that we're in the middle of the monsoon season. Checking the gauge and entering the data has become part of our daily routine. It only takes a few minutes. I find it interesting and sometimes frustrating to check the amounts of rain other areas of the city and county are getting--it seems like this week our neighbors all around us have been getting rain while we've been getting nothing. We also enjoy reading the daily comments entered onto the website by observers from around the state. I feel like I'm learning more about the weather and more about New Mexico.

For more information on CoCoRaHS, see the "About us" section of their website. Click here for an application to join the network and start observing.

New Mexico CoCoRaHS has its own newsletter. See the Summer 2012 edition here. It provides you with information about out state coordinator, New Mexico state climatologist Dave DuBois, as well as information on the monsoon season and the latest updates on drought monitoring in New Mexico. It also contains intereting precipitation data gathered by CoCoRaHS volunteers from around the state, including a map of the precipitation measures so far this year.

A big thank you to those of you who are already observers for CoCoRaHS. If you're not an observer yet, we encourage you to join. It's easy, fun, and interesting, and you get to make your own small contribution to weather science.

Monday, July 23, 2012

So far the NMSU Coop station has recorded 0.82 inches in July and hasn't seen any measurable rain since last Thursday. Over the last 24-hours we have seen patchy light rain over the state.
The NWS Albuquerque office released their Drought Statement today. The statement started off with
For the calendar year up to the end of last month most areas were below normal except for a few location in northeast NM. The map below from their office compares this year with the same time last year. Compared to last year (Jan to June) we're doing better but still behind.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Landsat satellite program. Below is a Landsat 7 image from 7/13 of the Paso del Norte retrieved from the Global Visualization Viewer website.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I sat in on NOAA's monthly climate webinar today where they briefed us on the state of the climate across the globe and over the US. Some highlights included them reporting that June 2012 was the 4th warmest June globally. On land it was the 1st warmest and 10th warmest over the ocean. The map below shows where it was abnormally warm this month. Most of North America shows a red dot with the largest anomalies over the western US. Hardest hit across the globe was over in Siberia.
Another interesting slide showed Arctic sea ice extent in June. They reported that last month had the 2nd smallest Arctic sea ice extent and had a record ice loss with 2.86 million square km melting.