Blogpost written by PCMN Kathy McLin and Joshua Skattum, Cohort 3
Comes the Monsoon
“Comes the monsoon
Whose arrival is announced by nature’s percussion, with deep drum rolls and cymbal clashes, grey sky and lightening shows.
A welcomed performance, one of pure life. Anointing the land, hastening the flow of rivers and streams. Filling ponds and pools and seeping in to the earth from which seeds and roots issue flowers and trees, all the green things that nourish body and soul.
PURE LIFE…..where creation begins and fulfills its part in the circle of life. Drink in that which is given to sustain and reawaken, to nurture and grow, to heal and caress this land, our home.
Comes the Monsoon, comes New Life.”
Kathy Carterr McLin
Receiving only 3 to 15 inches of rain per year, the Sonoran Desert is amongst some of our most dry and arid landscapes on our planet. When visualizing this region, many picture it as a desolate space. And yet every summer Arizonans look to the sky and recognize a transition of seasons and a burst of precipitation. We become mesmerized and inspired and enjoy a new season setting in, monsoon season.
The word Monsoon comes from the Arabic word mausim, meaning “seasonal”. It describes the system of winds that change throughout the year, bringing in wet and dry periods. This process is fueled by the Sea of Cortez, creating a biseasonal precipatory system delivering dynamic bursts of summer rainfall and slow long winter rain. As plants and animals have adapted to the dry and hot months of May and June, they relish for the anticipated rain. A burst of life is observed.
The Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert is our wettest desert region. A stark comparison to Yuma, one of the driest places on Earth, averaging only 3 inches of rain each year. The past three years we’ve experienced how rainfall in the desert is unpredictable. Plants and animals here have adapted to wait, reserving energy for when resources are most available to procreate. In 2020 we experienced a drought, receiving only 1.62” of rain for the entire summer monsoon season. This was followed by one of the wettest Julys on record, bringing in over 12 inches of rain for the 2021 July season. According to the National Weather Service, June 2022 has been the 5th warmest and 38th wettest monsoon season. You can also track our current 2022 monsoon reports via the NOA website!
Phillips, Steven J., et al. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, 2015.