Temperatures in Arizona cooled off this month as monsoon rainfall brought relief to the state, according to the newest Climate Outlook from CLIMAS. New Mexico, however, experienced above-average temperatures as high pressure limited monsoon precipitation across the state.
Temperatures across the U.S. were 1.6 degrees F above average in August, according to the latest State of the Climate from NOAA. Every state in the Southwest except Texas saw temperatures among their ten warmest, with Nevada tying its previous warmest August on record set in 1934.
Trees are more stressed under warmer conditions due to higher vapor pressure deficits (VPDs)—a measure of how much water the air can hold compared to what is already there—according to a study soon to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
The recent climate extremes in the U.S. most likely contributed to higher incidences of West Nile Virus (WNV) so far this year, according to a recent article published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
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.
The contiguous U.S. experienced its warmest July on the record, and July was the all-time warmest month, with temperatures 3.3 degrees F above average, according to the newest State of the Climate from NOAA.
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.