El Niño/La Niña
So far this year, almost eight million acres have burned across the nation, more than any other year-to-date and almost three million acres more than the 10-year average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Despite a wet start to the monsoon in some parts of the Southwest, severe to extreme drought conditions persist across most of Arizona and New Mexico, according to the US Drought Monitor.
Despite an early and vigorous start to the monsoon in parts of Arizona and New Mexico, drought conditions persisted over the past month with 94 percent of Arizona and 80 percent of New Mexico in severe to extreme drought, according to the July Climate Outlook from CLIMAS.
Global temperatures in 2011 were the coolest since 2008, but they were still above the 1981-2010 average and the year was one of the 15 warmest on record.
The first half of the year has been the warmest for the U.S. since recordkeeping began in 1895, with temperatures 4.5 degrees F above average, according to the June State of the Climate from NOAA.
May 2011 thru April 2012 was the warmest consecutive 12-month period on record for the contiguous U.S., according to the April State of the Climate from NOAA. The month of April was the third warmest on record for the U.S., with temperatures 3.6 degrees F above average, while precipitation was 0.20 inches below average.
Dry conditions continued through February in the Southwest—Phoenix tied its driest year-to-date on record—with only small portions of Colorado seeing precipitation above normal, according to the newest State of the Climate from NOAA.
High pressure has dominated the Southwest over the last 30 days, leading to above-average temperatures, below-average precipitation, and persistent drought throughout the region, especially in West Texas and southwest New Mexico.
January was the fourth warmest on record, according to the January State of the Climate from NOAA. Arizona had temperatures ranking in the 10th warmest for the month and the Rocky Mountains had the highest above-average temperatures in the region.
Over the past 30 days, most of Arizona has experienced temperatures at least 3 degrees F above average, according to the January Climate Outlook from CLIMAS.