Just deserts

Even the cacti are hunting shade.

“Just put a chair underneath the swamp cooler and deal with it all like a pro.”“When Everything Goes Wrong,” Ken Layne, Desert Oracle Radio

Gonna be a hot one — or two, or three, or four, or more — throughout the desert Southwest.

Especially out there in Desert Oracle country, where Ken Layne chats with author Claire Nelson about the time when her day hike suddenly got too hot to handle.

Here in the Duke City I’ve finally bowed to the elements and switched the Honeywells from “heat” to “cool,” because we’ve been having too much of the one and not nearly enough of the other.

And it will only get hotter. The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures of 5 to 15 degrees above normal for about a week (!) as a strong high-pressure system blisters New Mexico like a chile on the grill.

We didn’t need no steekeeng air conditioning back in Bibleburg. Nobody made us move to the upper edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway.

And whaddaya wanna bet one or both of us goes out onto the sunbaked trails to get the ol’ heart rate up for a while? No brain, no pain. If you don’t hear from me for a couple days call the Duke City trash collectors. I’ll be that bag of bones under the prickly pear somewhere in the Sandia Foothills Open Space.

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18 Responses to “Just deserts”

  1. Charley Says:

    Check out Phoenix temps.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    “But, it’s a dry heat.” Yep, dry in the oven too, but the bread still bakes. Just 106 for this this desert rat today.


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yowza, yowza, yowza, boys and girls. You Aridzona people have some tough sledding ahead. This place looks like Antarctica by comparison. I’ll bet my man Matt Wiebe is happy to be fishing off Alaska instead of frying in Fanta Se.

      • SAO' Says:

        “Other than the fact that the place is hot and stupid, why doesn’t one live in Arizona where all these chiles are available?”
        ~ Jim Harrison

    • khal spencer Says:

      Yikes. Youda thought the sun was going into its red giant phase.

      We never needed A/C when we first moved here either. But the last few years, both in BombTowne and Fanta Se, have us considering a new HVAC system or a swamp cooler.

      And, not to belabor the point that its getting hotter and drier…and speaking of the American Southwest:

      17.4.5 Southwest North America (SWNA)

      Increased humidity in a warmer world causes increased moisture divergence, changing global atmospheric circulation – including poleward expansion of the Hadley cells and the subtropical dry zones (Held and Soden, 2006; Lu et al., 2007), a development that tends to strongly reduce runoff in these regions (Milly et al., 2005). One area that may be particularly affected is southwest North America (SWNA), defined as all land in the region 125°W–95°W and 25°N–40°N. Aridity in this domain is robustly predicted to intensify and persist in future and a transition is probably already underway: to something which has been described as “…unlike any climate state we have seen in the instrumental record” (Seager et al., 2007, p. 1183). Recently, increased SWNA aridity has been linked to the potential for increased flooding in the Great Plains (Cook et al., 2008). The key driver is model-projected relatively higher summer warming over land than over ocean (analogous to what drives seasonal monsoons). In simulations of future dynamics, an increased contrast between the continental low and the North Atlantic subtropical high strengthens the Great Plains low-level jet, which transports moisture from the Caribbean to the upper Great Plains, triggering flooding there but starving SWNA of moisture (Cook et al., 2008). However, it is unclear whether there is strong non-linearity in response to warming, and, therefore, whether drying of SWNA qualifies as a climate surprise or tipping element.


      (“…The Hadley cells, large-scale overturning circulations with rising air near the equator and sinking air in the subtropics, dominate the Earth’s climate at low latitudes. Observations have shown that the Hadley cells are expanding poleward in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and model results suggest that such expansion is likely to continue throughout this century as a result of global warming. This has led to concerns about potential surface impacts, including a poleward shift of the subtropical dry zones. “…)–that’s us.

  3. SAO' Says:

    News from your neighbors to the west:

    Farsi said some orders for parts are backed up until 2023 because of supply chain shortages, and he’s resorting to alternatives such as product substitutions or finding other suppliers.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Yech. The air didn’t seem too bad when I left the house around 9 for a ride although Albuquerque is hidden behind smoke. But I had to use my Albuterol inhaler today for the first time in years.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The air hasn’t been too bad up here the past couple days. I got out for a brisk 4-mile hike along the foothills this morning around 10 and the haze was quite a ways off with the wind out of the NNE.

      Haze to the west

      Click here for a larger image.

      • khal spencer Says:

        We had that fire in the Pecos brew up here yesterday, adding to the overall background from everyone else’s BBQ Trees. But I could definitely feel it starting in the bottom of my lungs and working up, so I stopped and had a shot of the old lung tenderizer.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I should really get a new albuterol inhaler. I haven’t used one for years, but when the smoke, dust, and pollen all gang up on me I start thinking, “Hm, wonder what it would be like to use all four cylinders on this ’54 Geezermobile.”

        • khal spencer Says:

          I consider it kinda like the fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Hope to never have to use it but check it to make sure it is still charged.

          I need to call my own doc and get an albuterol refill. I have two of them and they are both well past their pull date. So today I just did double shots, so to speak.

  5. BruceM Says:

    Patrick, remember when you lived in Oregon and cursed the rain? It’s 69 and sunny here on the north Oregon coast. Yes, I grew up in El Paso, live for 4 years in Bombtown (White Rock); but I ain’t leaving this place!!!

    Okay, yes, I’m rubbing it in…

  6. SAO' Says:


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Denver will have temperatures more like Albuquerque, New Mexico.”

      Albuquerque will have temperatures like Sierra Vista, Ariz.

      And Sierra Vista will have temperatures like where you go when you die if you’ve been very, very naughty.

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