Click to search Click to search

By Charlie McKee

Climatologist David DuBois, PhD, of New Mexico State University had no good news for his Silver City audience regarding the drought conditions currently affecting the southwestern United States.  In aligning current climactic conditions with historic global weather patterns over time, DuBois indicated that the drought being experienced in New Mexico and the southwestern region could be the beginning of a long-term (5-to-20 year) drought and high heat pattern.  

The public forum featuring DuBois was held Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, at WNMU's Global Resource Center auditorium and was the first of what is to be three such forums presented by the Town of Silver City's Office of Sustainability. The Office Director, Nick Sussillo, explained to the audience during his introduction of DuBois that these forums would provide a basis for research and interviews with the public to support the Office's preparation of its Sustainability Plan 2030.  While this forum specifically addressed climate conditions in the local region, the future forums will address the following topics:
•    April 10 – Public Health
•    May 8 – Economic Resiliency

The purpose of the Sustainability Plan 2030, according to Sussillo, is three-pronged: to reduce vulnerability, build capability, and save money of the citizens of Silver City and Grant County through strengthening the local community, environment, and economy.  The 25-member task force developing the plan is a collaboration of local public and private sector members and will focus on such threats as fire, grid failure, higher food costs, and pulmonary risk that are viewed as potential risks for the local geographic area over the next few decades due to climactic trends.

DuBois's presentation focused on the current conditions in Climate Division 4 (CD4), a geographic area of similar weather encompassing mostly mountainous terrain with Silver City, NM at its southernmost tip and Grants, NM at its northernmost.  In various graphical displays, DuBois demonstrated that 2012 was extreme and stands out uniquely in CD4 as both the warmest and driest year by considerable margin since 1895.  In addition, the study of "streamflow," which includes snowpack and reservoir measurements, shows that New Mexico's snow levels and water reserves are dangerously low.

DuBois explained that his prediction that the current drought conditions will continue for some time is based upon a specific climate pattern, which indicates that CD4 is at the beinning of a very dry period.  The pattern is comprised of a neutral period between El Niño and La Niña and a negative Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, a combination, which has shown in the past to result in extended drought.

DuBois urged the audience to participate in climate observation in our area, stating that cuts in federal funding have resulted in the necessity for volunteer citizens to become the weather observers of the future.  (These cuts include the termination of continuous weather observation and recording at Fort Bayard from 1877 to 2012.)  He encouraged participation in the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHs) organization through which it is easy and inexpensive to become part of a North American volunteer weather reporting force.  Additional information is available on the following websites:  www.cocorahs.org; www.southernclimate.org; www.climas.arizona.edu; and www.weather.nmsu.edu. 

Live from Silver City

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

Four NEW classifieds for furniture and an REI screen house

A new classified just came in from a fellow looking for work doing thinning, fire protection work, etc. 

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  


All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat. 

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member.

We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com