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Southwest Climate Hub Bulletin

News and events for the Southwest Hub region

July 2020

Come Rain or Shine! 

The Southwest Climate Hub and the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center have partnered up to produce a monthly podcast: Come Rain or Shine. The first episode, released July 1st, 2020, highlights the characteristics of atmospheric rivers in the Southwest U.S., their impacts on water resources and ecosystems, their economic impacts, and how they are projected to change in the future. You can listen to the episode here or search for “Come Rain or Shine” on iHeartRadio, Pandora, or Spotify. Stay tuned for a new topic each month!

Grasscast expanded to Arizona and New Mexico

Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge — trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming season. Since May 2019, an innovative Grassland Productivity Forecast or “Grass-Cast” has been helping producers in the northern and southern Great Plains reduce this economically important source of uncertainty. Grasscast has now been expanded to cover Arizona and New Mexico.

Solving the Beef

The nonprofit Asombro Institute for Science Education and the Southwest Sustainable Beef Project have released a fun, educational game to support at home high school instruction due to school closures in response to the health crisis. Solving the Beef inspires wonder about agricultural science and New Mexico’s ecosystems. Read more >>

Wildfire Resources for the Southwest

Fire season is already upon us in the southwest… as if it ever goes away these days! So we have been reviewing and compiling online wildfire resources on our website. Visit our page “Wildfire Resources for the Southwest” for an overview and links to the wildfire resources we found to be the most useful. If you would like us to add information to this page, contact Caiti Steele

USFS Climate Change Pressures Story Map Visualizes Impacts on Plants through the 21st Century

The USDA Office of Sustainability and Climate has developed an interactive Story Map to display the potential intensification of climate change impacts on plants through the 21st century. Read more >>

Dust Handbook update

Announcing the newly updated Dust Mitigation Handbook, a collaborative product of the USDA Climate Hubs and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This handbook is designed to be a one-stop shop for dust mitigation on agricultural lands, rangeland, and natural surfaces. The Handbook is available in electronic form here and will also be available in paper hardcopy later this year. If you would like to pre-order a printed copy of the Handbook, please contact Skye Aney.

Climate Reporting for the Southwest

For July 2020, ENSO was has been updated to La Niña Watch. We are still in a ENSO-neutral status and will continue through summer. However, there is a 50-55% chance of La Niña developing by fall 2020 and winter 2020-2021. Read more about ENSO Tracker - July 2020, an analysis by CLIMAS (Climate Assessment for the Southwest). 

1-month outlook

As of July 16, the one-month outlook for August shows a 33-50% chance for above-normal temperature for the entire southwestern U.S. There will be a 33-40% chance of below-normal precipitation the eastern half of New Mexico and an equal chance for precipitation rest of the southwestern U.S.

3-month outlook

As of July 16, the three-month outlook (Aug-Sep-Oct 2020) shows a 50-60% chance of above-normal temperatures for the southwestern U.S. There will be a 33-40% chance for below-normal precipitation for Utah, eastern Nevada, Four Corners region and Southern High Plains region. These outlooks are created monthly by NOAA Climate Prediction Center and based on departures from the 1981-2010 base period. To view more short-term outlooks, please visit the NOAA's National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.


Drought conditions remain across much of the southwestern U.S. with wide expansion of D0-D2 drought conditions. Northern and portions of eastern New Mexico have the presence of D3 drought condition. In Hawaiʻi, drought conditions have remained in the D0-D1 conditions. You can also view the U.S. Drought Monitor Class Change map to see how conditions have improved or degraded in your area over a period of time. For a more detailed drought summary, visit the U.S. Drought Monitor website.  



Drought 2020 in Eastern New Mexico and the Southern High Plains - a conversation. July 22 at 4:00 pm MT

Please join us for a discussion about the developing drought in Eastern New Mexico and the southern High Plains. All involved with livestock production and farming in the Southern High Plains are invited. Experienced cattle growers Mimi and Tom Sidwell will explain how they plan for and manage their rangelands and herd during drought, how 2020 measures up to previous droughts, and their experience with marketing. James Stewart (Manager at Fort Union Ranch and member of the High Plains Grassland Alliance) will talk about trigger dates and the importance of following through on drought plans. Katie Meiklejohn will give an overview of the High Plains Grasslands Alliance. Scientists will give summaries on the drought outlook and monsoon expectations, and a new tool "Grass-cast." Join an ongoing discussion about how drought is impacting you and / or the people you work with.

Please register to receive webinar access details. For more information, contact Caiti Steele.

Presenter: Dave DuBois, New Mexico State Climatologist

These monthly webinar presentations will provide information on current and upcoming weather and climate conditions in New Mexico, with a highlight on conditions on Tribal lands. The webinars will take place on the 4th Thursday of the next 4 months (June 25, July 23, August 27, September 24). Agricultural producers and land managers are encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend the live event the recording will also be available on the Quivira Coalition and NIDIS websites. You only have to register once for the scheduled webinars through September. 

For additional information contact Helena Deswood.

Virtual Climate 101 Workshop on Aug 11-12, 2020

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center will be hosting a virtual 2-day Climate 101 Workshop for Natural Resource Managers on Aug 11-12, 2020. They will introduce topics such as the regional impacts of climate change, future climate trends, and tools to help in climate adaptation planning. Register by July 31, 2020. 

Jessica Mae Orozco Memorial Honorarium

This award is given annually to a Native American/Alaskan Native senior high school student(s) to cover travel, lodging and meals for attendance at the Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meeting and the High School Youth Forum (HSYF). The SRM’s mission is to provide leadership for the Stewardship of Rangelands based on sound ecological principles. The HSYF is an opportunity to research a range related topic, prepare a written paper, and then present the main ideas of the paper in a formal 6-8 minute speaking presentation. The winners of the presentation contest have their papers published in Rangelands, a peer reviewed full-color publication of the SRM.
More information >>

Funding Opportunities

WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency Projects
Award Ceiling: $1,500,000
Deadline: August 5, 2020

Micro-Grants for Food Security Program
Award Ceiling: $1,938,557
Deadline: August 17, 2020

Solicitation for Applications to Assist Persistent Poverty Farmers, Ranchers, Agriculture Producers and Communities through Agriculture Resources
Award Ceiling: $450,000
Deadline: August 24, 2020

Funding Opportunity Announcement: Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
Award Ceiling: $450,000
Deadline: August 26, 2020

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Education and Workforce Development
Estimated Total Program Funding: $49,000,000
Deadline: September 25, 2020

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational and Applied Science
Estimated Total Program Funding: $192,600,000
Deadline: Multiple deadlines for Letter of Intent, November 18, 2020

Webinars and Virtual Conferences

Drought 2020 in Eastern New Mexico and the Southern High Plains - a conversation. July 22 at 4:00 pm MT

New Mexico Weather Outlook Webinars July 23 at 10:30 am MT

Climate 101 Workshop, August 11-12, 2020

National Tribal & Indigenous Climate Conference, September 14-17, 2020
Call for Abstracts: August 7, 2020
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