Weather & Climate
"...with scarce and scattered water sources, the monument is an outstanding biological resource..." (Proclamation 6920, 1996)
In the canyons and plateaus where the Monument is located, the weather can change from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes. Powder-dry arroyos can suddenly be changed into boiling, muddy stream channels by thunderstorms many miles away. Scorching desert heat during the day gives way to cold, clear nights. During the summer months, small springs and tinajas become life saving oasis for wildlife. When winter arrives, bitter cold temperatures rule the canyons, while snows blanket the higher plateaus.
From the most ancient of times up to today, the people that have lived in this area have looked to the sky to try and understand and predict the weather. The weather provides moisture for crops, provides forage for wild game, and supplies refreshment for thirsty people and animals.
With such a dynamic climate, it is important that we keep our eyes to the sky to try and understand the weather and its affect that it has on all that is around us. That is what the Climate Monitoring Program that we have here on the Monument seeks to accomplish. We use the latest in technology to continually monitor the climate across the area.
Climatic data from these stations is used by the National Weather Service for forecasting and by many government and private individuals for research. These stations are also a very useful tool in flash flood early warning.