ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The year 2018 will go down as one of the warmest on record for Albuquerque and New Mexico as a whole.
Through November, according to the National Weather Service, 2018 comes in as the third warmest year on record for New Mexico, which covers 126 years of weather data.
“You can consider us the poster child for climate change in the U.S.,” said Andrew Church, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque. “We’re seeing increasing temperatures area-wide. It certainly looks like that is the trendline that we’re seeing in the data statewide.”
Three recent seasons covering 2018 and three months were in the top 10 warmest on record for the state. The winter season, from December 2017 to February 2018, was sixth warmest on record, and the spring season, from March to May, and the summer season, from June to August, were the second warmest.
May 2018 will go down as the third warmest May on record, June the second warmest and July tied for the eighth warmest.
The last year New Mexico experienced a below normal year in terms of temperature was 1992. That’s 26 consecutive years with above normal temperatures in the state.
The 2018 year also was drier than the 30-year normal, calculated for the period 1981 to 2010, by an average of 1.37 inches less precipitation. It was the 39th driest year on record. Of the past 20 years, 12 of those years have been drier than normal and eight years wetter than normal.
The year 2018 in Albuquerque was much warmer than normal, which meteorologists say has become the norm in the 21st century. The average temperature was 59.1 degrees, 1.9 degrees above the 30-year normal of 57.2 degrees, tying for the seventh warmest year since complete records began in 1893.
“There’s nothing that would indicate change in the trendline of warmer temperatures,” Church said.
Since 2000, 16 years have ranked in the top 25 warmest years on record.
The long-term annual normal (1893 to current) temperature was 56.6 degrees.
The year 2018 began with January through March being 2 or more degrees above normal. April through June were 4 or more degrees above normal, and all were in the top 10 warmest months on record. July through September were between 1 and 3 degrees above normal.
The average maximum temperature for Albuquerque in 2018 was 71.7 degrees – 2.9 degrees above normal, while the average minimum temperature for the year was 46.5 degrees – 1 degree above normal.
Precipitation in Albuquerque for 2018 was below normal. In the past decade, only 2015 recorded above normal precipitation. Total precipitation in 2018 was 8.72 inches, while the official 30-year normal (1981-2010) is 9.45 inches – a deficit of 0.73 inches.
The long-term annual precipitation (1892 to current) averages 8.56 inches. The year 2018 was the 71st driest on record since 1892.
Eight of the 12 months reported below normal precipitation, while just four months were above – February, June, July and October.
No measurable rain fell in April and November while January, March, May and November saw less than two-tenths of an inch of precipitation.