I received a well thought out question via email yesterday and I wanted to share it with everyone:
“Does having a colder spring, which delays snowpack melt actually help with summer monsoons since a wet ground is more likely to cause convection in the summer and therefore produce more storms? Is there a downside to having a colder spring vs a warmer spring in terms of moisture and rainfall come spring/summer/fall?”
In theory, it makes perfect sense. I talk about it a lot, especially in the fall and winter. Wet brings more wet. Dry delays wet until a powerful enough storm can overcome the dry. I refer to it as a feedback loop when we get stuck in a wet or dry pattern.
But the quick answer is that a cool and wet spring can lead to a dryer summer and fall. I bet this is the opposite of what most people would think because this applies more to our region than the rest of the US. Let’s look back at last winter and spring. Wettest ever nationally. Here not quite, but very wet by all of our standards. Then what happened? No monsoon. The monsoon was a nonsoon.
Why? The West as a whole was wetter and colder than normal. The monsoon relies on the exact opposite. It likes heat. Essentially high-pressure locks into place in the late spring in Mexico and then moves north eventually to just south of the Four Corners region.
People forget how cold it was even in June last year. Remember the Monsoon season is now completely dependent on opinion. The NWS now “declares” when the Monsoon season is supposed to begin. Typically that declaration is supposed to come June 15th. Here were temperature anomalies for June 30th, 2019.
Check out how cold the US was. Look at the area around Baja Mexico. It was not a good environment for the Monsoon to develop.
So what is in store for us? My favorite answer–it is probably too early to tell. The Global Ensemble Models have been bouncing around and a real tug of war is going on across the country. Here is what that looks like. Low pressure is indicated in the cooler blue shades while high pressure is indicated by the warmer yellow and orange tones.
And here is a two-week outlook from the Euro Ensembles.
So hang in there, it looks like we will have a mixed bag of weather for a while, a few nice days here and there with some unsettled conditions thrown in to remind us where we live. Thanks for following and supporting the site.
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