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Environmental variability and global change are discussed more and more frequently in news articles and programs as the general public becomes increasingly aware of the rapid environmental transformations taking place around the world. The Institute of the Environment produces general interest articles about current UA research relevant to the environment, spotlights that chronicle the work of IoE faculty, and other articles, including a series on drought in the Southwest. The most recent articles are listed below. Older articles and links to UA News press releases also are available in the News Archive.
March 24, 2014
Climate experts discussed the Southwest's unique challenges at this year's Tucson Festival of Books.
March 20, 2014
CLIMAS has released its March 2014 Southwest Climate Outlook.
Drought: Drought is widespread in the Southwest. Severe and extreme drought cover about 57 and 65 percent of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Drought intensified in the last month, most notably in northern Arizona and New Mexico.
Precipitation: Only one storm in the past 30 days delivered substantial moisture to Arizona and New Mexico. That storm dropped rain and snow mostly at higher elevations around March 1, and drier-than-average conditions in the last 30 days remained the norm for most of both states. Precipitation in nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico since January 1 has been less than 50 percent of average.
Temperature: Temperatures in the last 30 days in the Southwest generally were between 2 and 6 degrees F warmer than average. Maximum temperatures were more above average than minimum temperatures. This winter has been one of the warmest on record for much of the Southwest.
Snowpack: Scant precipitation and warm conditions have caused below-average snowpacks in the Southwest. In Arizona, the largest snowpacks are in the San Francisco Peaks and measure 67 percent of average; conditions in all other basins are less than 10 percent of average. Snowpacks in all river basins in New Mexico measure less than 63 percent of average.
Water Supply: Total reservoir storage decreased by about 291,000 acre-feet in Arizona and increased by about 34,600 acre-feet in New Mexico in February. Storage stands at about 46 percent of capacity in Arizona and about 23 percent of capacity in New Mexico. Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico gained about 27,800 acre-feet in February—increases are typical this time of year—but remains low, at 15 percent of capacity or 30 percent average.
ENSO: Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are near average, reflecting ENSO-neutral conditions. The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center, however, has issued an El Niño Watch, which means that conditions are favorable for the development of an El Niño in the next six months.
Precipitation Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center is calling for equal chances for above-, below-, or near-average precipitation across nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico for the April–June period.
Temperature Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center forecasts high chances for above-average temperatures in the Southwest during the April–June period.
Streamflow Forecasts: The April–July streamflow forecasts issued on March 1 for the Colorado River call for flows into Lake Powell to be around 109 percent of average. March–July forecasts for the Salt, Verde, and Gila rivers, on the other hand, project well below-average flows. In New Mexico, the March-July forecast for the Rio Grande at Otowi Bridge is around 38 percent of average.
March 17, 2014
Arizona Public Media
University of Arizona's Christopher Scott speaks with AZ Illustrated Nature to discuss the increasingly important efforts to protect water, especially in the Southwest.
March 10, 2014
Mother Nature Network
The Biosphere 2's "Desert Sea", led by the Institute of the Environment's Rafe Sagarin, is raising funds for a makeover of the ocean gallery into a replica of California's Sea of Cortez.
February 26, 2014
Altered landscapes, geologic time, lightning, watershed remediation, and more: a conversation with William L. Fox, director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Fox will be at the University of Arizona to give a talk, The Art of the Anthropocene, on Tuesday, March 4, at 7 pm at the Center for Creative Photography.
February 24, 2014
The University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health now offers students an accelerated Bachelor's and Master's degree program in environmental health sciences.
February 20, 2014
Eric Magrane’s preliminary reflections on the pilot Poetic Field Research Weekend at Biosphere 2.
February 18, 2014
Changes in climate are influencing where, when and how frequently diseases, such as West Nile virus, are occurring, says UA Provost Andrew Comrie, a professor at the School of Geography and Development.
February 13, 2014
In an experiment designed by Carson Scholar Eric Magrane, poets and writers had the opportunity to spend two days working and writing inside Biosphere 2 during the Poetic Field Research Weekend.
February 6, 2014
In an op-ed, the Institute of the Environment's co-director Diana Liverman argues that we can build resliance by expanding research on the effects of climate change on a globalized economy.