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Environmental variability and global change are discussed more and more frequently in news articles and programs as the general public becomes increasingly aware of the rapid environmental transformations taking place around the world. The Institute of the Environment produces general interest articles about current UA research relevant to the environment, spotlights that chronicle the work of IoE faculty, and other articles, including a series on drought in the Southwest. The most recent articles are listed below. Older articles and links to UA News press releases also are available in the News Archive.

Latest Updates

April 3, 2014

Mary C. Stiner and Jonathan T. Overpeck now carry the title, which is held by no more than 3 percent of the University's tenured and tenure-track faculty.

March 31, 2014

UANews reporter Daniel Stolte takes a dip into Biosphere 2's Desert Ocean.

March 30, 2014
The Washington Post

University of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck recently returned from Yokohama, Japan after working on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II Report, released this past Sunday.  The report warns against the already seen impacts of climate change and urges action from policymakers and business leaders. 

March 25, 2014
Arizona Public Media

The University of Arizona's new Center for Climate Adaptation Sciences and Solutions is dedicated to finding solutions to impending, and possibly drastic, climate changes that will affect the way we live our lives today.  CCASS' director Kathy Jacobs talks to Arizona Public Media on what sort of research is being conducted that will help us survive in a more stable future with climate change. 

March 24, 2014

University of Arizona research scientists are working together with a binational team to monitor the effects of an engineered spring flood in the Colorado River delta.

March 24, 2014

Climate experts discussed the Southwest's unique challenges at this year's Tucson Festival of Books.

March 20, 2014

CLIMAS has released its March 2014 Southwest Climate Outlook.

Drought: Drought is widespread in the Southwest. Severe and extreme drought cover about 57 and 65 percent of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Drought intensified in the last month, most notably in northern Arizona and New Mexico.


Precipitation: Only one storm in the past 30 days delivered substantial moisture to Arizona and New Mexico. That storm dropped rain and snow mostly at higher elevations around March 1, and drier-than-average conditions in the last 30 days remained the norm for most of both states. Precipitation in nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico since January 1 has been less than 50 percent of average.


Temperature: Temperatures in the last 30 days in the Southwest generally were between 2 and 6 degrees F warmer than average. Maximum temperatures were more above average than minimum temperatures. This winter has been one of the warmest on record for much of the Southwest.


Snowpack: Scant precipitation and warm conditions have caused below-average snowpacks in the Southwest. In Arizona, the largest snowpacks are in the San Francisco Peaks and measure 67 percent of average; conditions in all other basins are less than 10 percent of average. Snowpacks in all river basins in New Mexico measure less than 63 percent of average.


Water Supply: Total reservoir storage decreased by about 291,000 acre-feet in Arizona and increased by about 34,600 acre-feet in New Mexico in February. Storage stands at about 46 percent of capacity in Arizona and about 23 percent of capacity in New Mexico. Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico gained about 27,800 acre-feet in February—increases are typical this time of year—but remains low, at 15 percent of capacity or 30 percent average. 


ENSO: Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are near average, reflecting ENSO-neutral conditions. The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center, however, has issued an El Niño Watch, which means that conditions are favorable for the development of an El Niño in the next six months.


Precipitation Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center is calling for equal chances for above-, below-, or near-average precipitation across nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico for the April–June period.


Temperature Forecasts: The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center forecasts high chances for above-average temperatures in the Southwest during the April–June period.


Streamflow Forecasts: The April–July streamflow forecasts issued on March 1 for the Colorado River call for flows into Lake Powell to be around 109 percent of average. March–July forecasts for the Salt, Verde, and Gila rivers, on the other hand, project well below-average flows. In New Mexico, the March-July forecast for the Rio Grande at Otowi Bridge is around 38 percent of average. 

March 17, 2014
Arizona Public Media

University of Arizona's Christopher Scott speaks with AZ Illustrated Nature to discuss the increasingly important efforts to protect water, especially in the Southwest. 

March 10, 2014
Mother Nature Network

The Biosphere 2's "Desert Sea", led by the Institute of the Environment's Rafe Sagarin, is raising funds for a makeover of the ocean gallery into a replica of California's Sea of Cortez.