chapter  4
Climate and drought in New Mexico
ByDavid S. Gutzler
Pages 15

New Mexico is situated in the interior of the North Amer ican continent, rel at ively far from oceanic sources of moisture with signi fic ant orographic bar riers to atmospheric moisture transport in all dir ec tions. Its geographical setting (far from any ocean, at a high average elevation) makes New Mexico both colder and dryer than sur round ing states at the same lat it ude. An abundance of complex terrain within the state creates sharp spatial gradients in temperature and precipitation. Surveys of the climate of New Mexico have been published in atlases by Tuan et al. (1973) and Williams (1986); more recently brief overviews of average climate and variabil ity across the state, with applica tions to water resource issues, are contained in a pair of short art icles by Gutzler (2004, 2007). New spatial ana lysis techniques, such as the PRISM algorithm that produces high-resolution gridded fields accounting for elevation and aspect (Daly et al., 1994), provide additional detail on the climatological distribution of temperature and precipitation.