The rate of warming in New Mexico has been about twice the global average. The temperature is now 2 degrees F higher than in 1900.
The most likely future between now and 2050 will see:
- Temperatures increasing anywhere from 4 degrees F to 8 degrees F. General warming will encourage the spread of specific pests and pathogens as well as certain shrubs on rangelands. higher night-time temperatures will threaten the required chill-hours needed by trees like pecans. Winter warming will cause aseasonal budbreaks and bolting of crops like onions
- Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide with warmer temperatures can increase yields of certain New Mexico crops as long as irrigation water is available (e.g. corn for grain and silage, soybeans, sorghum, barley and citrus fruits). But other New Mexico crops (e.g. wheat, oats, hay, potatoes, and field tomatoes) without irrigation have a less productive future. Projected climate change could reduce New Mexico wheat yields by 10-30% and sorghum yields by 7-9% as temperatures rise beyond the tolerance levels of the crop. Hay and pasture yields could fall by 4% or rise by 9%, depending on how climate changes and the extent of irrigation. Rangelands may see increased invasion of shrubs that prosper with increased greenhouse gases (GhG).
- Milder winters and hotter summers (the frost season will be one or two months shorter) with longer growing seasons, changes in cultivars and increased water use.
- Increased evaporative losses from reservoirs, playas and small wetlands, as well as drier soils from the hotter conditions that will increase farmer dependence on groundwater as, at the same time, recharge may decline.
- Increased evapo-transpiration by crops and pastures with increased risks of wilting.
- Increasing precipitation in the form of rain (not snow) with the snow line moving upslope 300 to 1,000 feet. Impacts on acequia farming and mayordomos from the earlier runoff peaks and reduced early-summer runoff because of less snow.
- An indeterminate change in rainfall amount and patterns with difficult to predict changes in creek, acequia, and river flows, as well as times of water availability for irrigation; increased groundwater needs during low flows; concentration of water salts and pollutants; and increased water rights disputes and more.
- Increased extreme events, including drought severity, flood intensity, the number of dust storms, and unpredictable hail and inter-storm droughts that will make yields less assured and change crop/livestock insurance rates.
- Farm products that moved to, from and within New Mexico weighed 13 M tons (1998); projected to grow to 16 M in 2020.
- New Mexico imported over 102,000 tons of natural gas-derived nitrogen fertilizers, over 5,000 tons of mined phosphate-related and 15,000 tons of potash fertilizers (2007). Additional multi-nutrient and other fertilizers exceeded 130,000 tons. A total of 235,000 tons of imported fertilizers shipped into New Mexico.
- Although difficult to determine in total feed-miles, New Mexico shipped more than 2.4 billion tons of feed around and into the State. Major feeds include canola pellets, mixed dairy and cattle feeds, corn products, distillers’ by-products and soybean products.
- Over 26,000 tons of pet food were shipped to New Mexico in packages of more than 10 pounds.