February temperatures were much-above average across most of region, including record warmest temperatures in eastern New Mexico. After an impressive run of storms during January and February, activity has tapered and temperatures continue to rise. Fall and winter precipitation led to an explosion of wildflowers in the Southwest, fed by above-average precipitation over much of fall and winter, and boosted by recent above-average temperatures. Pollen levels are also up, and most allergy sufferers will feel the effects from a wide range of pollen sources.
Understanding our complex and changing environment requires large amounts of innovative data and ways of analyzing it. The UA has a strong tradition of compiling unique data sets, including tree rings, satellite imagery and plant genetics, that are now stored, integrated and analyzed using new informatics techniques and computer models. This builds on UA expertise in remote sensing and monitoring of the Earth and other planets, and on the imperative to better predict the environmental challenges of the future.