May 2012 Intermountain West Climate Summary
Temperature — April temperatures were well above average across the entire region, with most of the region 4–8°F warmer than average.
Precipitation — While April was wetter than March, precipitation was still below average across most of the region, with southern Utah, western Colorado, and west-central and southeastern Wyoming being especially dry.
Hydrological Conditions — Snowpacks across the region continued their rapid and early melt during April, with May 1 snowpacks near or at record-low levels for many basins. Accordingly, the May 1 forecasts call for much-below-average spring-summer runoff for nearly all basins the
ENSO — ENSO-neutral conditions have returned to the tropical Pacific Ocean. More than half of the ENSO forecast models indicate that El Niño conditions will develop by fall 2012, with the rest calling for persisting ENSO-neutral conditions through the fall.
Climate Forecasts — The temperature outlooks from the NOAA CPC indicate an enhanced chance of warmer-than-average temperatures in nearly all of the region in June and in
subsequent seasons. A slightly enhanced chance of dry conditions is indicated only for northern Utah and western Wyoming.
New review paper on water yield effects of bark beetle infestations:
WWA's Eric Gordon, along with Evan Pugh from the University of Colorado-Boulder, recently published a paper entitled "A conceptual model of water yield effects from beetle-induced tree death in snow-dominated lodgepole pine forests" in the journal Hydrological Processes. The abstract is available at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.9312/abstract; for a copy of the full article please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on WWA's efforts to aid decision makers in understanding the water-related impacts of bark beetle infestations, visit our "Beetles, Water, and Climate" web resource at http://wwa.colorado.edu/ecology/beetle/.
IWCS reader survey coming soon, followed by changes to the IWCS.
WWA has been producing the Intermountain West Climate Summary since 2005. As a research program that has been chartered by NOAA to prototype regional climate services, we need to clearly justify activities that become "semi-operational", such as the IWCS. Since 2008, several other climate-digest products covering different portions of our three-state region have been initiated, and there are many new climate-data portals available to users. Thus, we are
reconsidering the future of the IWCS in the context of this expanding portfolio of climate information for the region. We will be sending out a reader survey in the next few months to help us to (1) better understand what our readers find useful about IWCS relative to other climate products, and (2) make appropriate changes to the IWCS. In the meantime, you are always welcome to send us feedback at email@example.com.
Southwest Climate Science Summit, June 11-14, Tucson
The Southwest Climate Science Center—a DOI-funded applied research entity in which the University of Colorado and WWA are partners—is hosting a summit to help structure future
climate research in the Southwest. Join resource managers, scientists, and federal, tribal, state, and local stakeholders to discuss the state of climate science in the Southwest (which does include Utah and Colorado) and to identify climate-related research needed to inform better
societal and management decisions. Results from the Southwest Climate Assessment Report will also be shared. The summit will be convened June 11-14 in Tucson, Arizona. Registration is required. Learn more at http://www.swcsc.arizona.edu.
- Home Return to the Utah Climate Center homepage.
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- Freeze Dates, & Water Years