The University of Arizona




Written primarily by guest authors, feature articles provide "on-the-ground" perspectives and credible assessments of various topics related to climate change solutions and science, with an emphasis on the Southwest.

2011 Water Year in Review

Posted by Zack Guido | on October 31, 2011
The 2011 Water Year in Review is a summary of the information presented in the Southwest Climate Outlook between October 1, 2010, and September 30, 2011. The water year is a standard period of measurement used in hydrology because the natural seasonal ground recharge and discharge cycles are more aligned with the October-September period than the calendar year due to precipitation and evaporation. This review highlights precipitation, temperature, reservoir levels, drought, wildfire, and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions.

Extreme Events in the Southwest

Posted by Zack Guido | on September 21, 2011
Raging fires, mile-high walls of dust, bone-dry drought, and pipe-bursting freezes wreaked havoc across the Southwest this year. By the end of August, drought and fires alone cost New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and other western states more than $5 billion, which does not include the recent blazes that destroyed more than 1,000 of houses in Texas. Ten disasters across the country have cost more than $1 billion already this year, breaking the previous record of nine set in 2008, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In fact, CNN dubbed 2011 the year of billion-dollar disasters (August 20).

A Double-Dip? Mounting Evidence Suggests La Niña Will Return This Winter

Posted by Zack Guido Mike Crimmins | on September 07, 2011
Blame it on La Niña. Pushing the jet stream and the storms it carried north of the region, La Niña played a starring role in a record-dry winter in the Southwest this past year. The lack of rain and snow led to extensive fires in Arizona and New Mexico, skimpy irrigation allotments, and withered vegetation in the spring. Now mounting evidence suggests that after a brief summer hiatus La Niña may be back.

Dry Winter Escalates Need for Wet Monsoon

Posted by Zack Guido | on June 10, 2011
Wilting crops. Dry irrigation channels. Rampant fires. These are the results of a drought that is only seen about once in every 50 years, but one that has gained a purchase in New Mexico since the beginning of the winter.

Climate Change Poses Challenges to Food Security in the Southwest

Posted by Britain Eakin | on March 25, 2011
Most of us are familiar with the concept of peak oil, and even peak water. But peak chili peppers?