Wednesday, June 10, 2015

El Nino in the Spring

March, April, May and the first week of June have been quite wet for the East slopes of the Rockies and the Western Great Plains, with large regions receiving more than three or four times normal precipitation.  Meanwhile, the West has continued its drought, with CA looking especially dry.
NM has significant regions above 400% of normal precipitation.  While there is lush growth in some areas, other areas are not appreciably greener than they might otherwise be.  Sometimes this can be attributed phenology (e.g. to summer grasses not responding to early spring rains, or perhaps the exact timing is important for annual germination), but some must also be due to the severe productivity reduction of overgrazed and eroded soils.

El Nino has strengthened in recent months.  An active fall hurricane season supplyied NM with abundant moisture in the fall, In the winter a steady progression of Pacific storms brought an average amount of precipitation.  And since late May we have already experienced large moisture plumes from yet more unusually-strong Eastern Pacific hurricanes,  Andres and now, currently, Blanca.

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