Climate Change in New Mexico

In New Mexico and much of the Southwest, natural resource managers lack information about how they can anticipate and adapt to the effects of regional climate change. New Mexico was the first chapter in the Conservancy to answer that need by creating the Climate Change Ecology and Adaptation Program which provides land and water managers with information about climate change in our state's past, present and future.

New Mexico Climate Change Adaptation Project

We are assessing the impacts of climate change on New Mexico's biodiversity and identifying local level adaptation strategies that can help build ecological resilience to ongoing climate change.

Recent Changes in Climate in New Mexico at a Glance

  • Over 95% of New Mexico has experienced mean temperature increases.

  • Warming has been greatest in the western and central parts of the state.

  • Most of New Mexico's mid- to high-elevation forests have experienced warmer and drier conditions.

  • Of the 48 cases of ecological changes that are linked to climate change across New Mexico and the Southwest, over half involved species population declines.

  • Over 50 of the state's native animals and plants are already affected by climate change to some degree, including the Jemez Mountains salamander and Sacramento Mountains thistle.

  • High-mountain species and water-dependent species are particularly vulnerable.

Evidence of Climate Change in NM (April 2008)

There is now strong scientific evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting the earth's species and ecological systems. The Nature Conservancy's state-wide assessment of recent climate change enables practitioners and managers to make better informed decisions and to take action in the near-term by identifying the potential vulnerability of habitat types, priority conservation sites and species to climate change. Report

Evidence of Climate Change in NM (December 2008)

The second of three reports assesses the conservation implications of recent climate change on New Mexico’s watersheds and hydrology. Analyzing recent trends (1970-2006) in a water balance variable—climate water deficit—that indicates biological moisture stress or drying, this study identifies watersheds of high conservation importance in New Mexico that are most and least vulnerable to ongoing climate change. Report