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Southwest Climate Hub Bulletin

News and events for the Southwest Hub region

March 2019

One Thing is Certain, Drought Will Return 

SW Hub acting director Emile Elias reflects on the 2018 drought. Even as we experience above-average moisture across most of the Southwest Region, or do battle with a bomb cyclone that pummeled the Rockies and the Plains, drought is an ever-present threat and it will return. Read more >>

Monitoring and Reporting Drought in Arizona 

We need more people reporting on drought impacts and more ground-measured precipitation data in Western states like Arizona. When this information reaches Drought Monitor authors, they are better able to depict drought onset, severity and extent on the US Drought Monitor Map. But for more people to be involved in reporting drought impacts or to become a volunteer precipitation observer, they need to know the opportunities available to them. Outreach and education are key!  Read more >>

Frederic G. Renner Award recipient, Dr. Joel Brown

SW Climate Hub Co-lead, Dr. Joel Brown, was presented the Frederic G. Renner Award from the Society for Range Management at the 72nd Annual Meeting. "The Renner Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Society. It was made possible by a generous contribution from Frederic G. Renner, a Charter and Life member and SRM’s second President (1949). The award is presented with the belief that such recognition will foster better use of rangeland resources and a broader understanding of the contributions that these resources make to the welfare of all people." Read more >>

Learning to Live with Less Water 

In case you missed it, March 22 was World Water Day, a day designed to focus attention on the importance of sustainable management of freshwater resources. Future water availability is a big concern in the American Southwest, and it's one of the main research and outreach areas for the Southwest Climate Hub. We invite you to take a look at our new article “Learning to Live with Less Water” which features Dr. Emile Elias and the Southwest Climate Hub. Read more >>

Using 'Big Data' to Explore Soil Health as a Socio-ecological Feedback 

SW Climate Hub Fellow, Julian Reyes reports on a "big data" project focused on soil health and social-ecological feedbacks and the project members' visit to the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, MD. Read more >>

Environmental Impact Bonding to Improve Forest Health

The SW Climate Hub recently met with Ellen Roberts to learn about environmental impact bond funds for forest health projects to minimize catastrophic wildfires, generate electricity and produce high-grade biochar. The San Juan National Forest (SJNF) suffered two wildfires in 2018, the 416 fire and the Burro Fire. Read more >>

Climate Reporting for the Southwest

We are currently in an El Niño Advisory status. Forecasters estimate there will be about an 80% chance of a weak El Niño for the spring 2019 and ~60% chance that this will continue into the summer.

As of March 21, the three-month outlook (Apr-May-Jun 2019) for much of the southwestern U.S. shows equal chances of for above, normal, and below normal temperatures. For Nevada, the outlook mostly shows a 33-40% of above normal temperatures. The Four Corners region and Utah show a chance of above normal precipitation. These outlooks are created monthly by NOAA Climate Prediction Center and based on departures from the 1981-2010 base period. The one-month outlook for April shows an equal chance for both temperature and precipitation across the southwest. To view more short-term outlooks, please visit the NOAA's National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

3-month outlook

1-month outlook


Drought conditions remain in the Four Corners region and in northern New Mexico. Arizona and New Mexico saw an improvement in drought category when compared to last month. In Hawaii, a widespread of D0 drought intensity has occurred. You can view how the maps change from week to week using the U.S. Drought Monitor Map Comparison Slider

For the seasonal drought outlook, drought remains but improves for the Four Corners region and in northern New Mexico and may develop in Hawaiʻi.


Funding Opportunites

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, NIFA
Up to $2,000,000
Deadline: May 2, 2019
More information.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grants, Western SARE
Up to $350,000
Deadline: May 28, 2019
More information.



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