American Southwest threatened by heavy-rain monsoons

GR: The article below illustrates the value of scientific analysis. The Southwest Monsoon has always caused flooding. However, memory alone is an unreliable indicator of changes in storm strength; numerical comparison of time periods is better. The analysis mentioned in this article confirms the assertion that climate-change is bringing stronger storms to the Southwest.

Flooding is the primary danger from intense monsoon storms, but around my house you sometimes have to dodge falling branches too. Combining wind and rain-soaked leaves often breaks the brittle branches of the weeping willows surrounding my place. The one below fell on Sunday. It only weighs a few hundred pounds, but over recent years, branches weighing several tons have fallen. The ominous sounds of cracking and crashing lend wings to one’s feet.

Fallen weeping willow branch.

From LabRoots:

“A new study published recently in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology suggests that the North American Monsoon (NAM) is becoming more intense in the United States Southwest, particularly in Arizona. Their results show that while storms are not as frequent as they have been in the last 60 years, the rain episodes are heavier and include high winds, dust storms, and flooding, which often threaten residents and property. This pattern, the study concludes, is consistent with flux caused by climate change.

Monsoons often come on suddenly. Photo: The Arizona Experience

“Because of specific Department of Defense installations in the Southwest, and because the existing models of the NAM do not represent patterns in the climate accurately, the team analyzed Arizona rainfall data from 1950-1970 and compared it with data from 1991-2010. Defining severe weather events as days when the highest atmospheric instability and moisture occur within a long-term regional climate simulation, the scientists found that while the mean precipitation for the region stayed the same during the different time epochs, the later time period had more heavy-rain storms.” –Kathryn DeMuth Sullivan (More: American Southwest threatened by heavy-rain monsoons).

2 thoughts on “American Southwest threatened by heavy-rain monsoons

  1. Even with the storm damage, the yard is inviting and lovely. Could you salvage that grand broken ‘arm’ by digging a deep hole and rooting it for an instant ‘grown-up’ willow? Down here on the equator it would barely wilt, then resume growing…

    The weather has definitely been strange – from tennis-ball hailstorms in Spain and whitening the landscape from hail in Italy to flooding in New Zealand, Illinois, Pennsylvania – round the world, it seems intense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, thank you for the suggestion. The branch would root here too. I don’t have a spot for it just now, but perhaps another one later. Storms are increasing, but the one we just had was a typical Arizona Monsoon event.

      Liked by 1 person

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