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September/October 2008: In This Issue

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Weatherscapes: New Mexico's Tularosa Basin

Because of its elevation of about 4,000 feet—a little less than a mile above sea level—and its location within a global band of subtropical arid regions, the cool, dry climate of the Tularosa Basin ranks as one of the more pleasant in
North America.

But the broad, gently-sloping bowl— bounded on the east and west by steeply faulted mountain ranges and on the north and south by lower, yet substantial, mountainous blocks of earth—witneses a spectrum of weather conditions best described as not just varied but of
antithetical proportions.

With high pressure typically forming atop the Desert Southwest during the winter months, the silence of meteorological stasis characterizes the air above the Tularosa. The sky seems asleep, and not even a hint of wind can be detected. Sound travels for miles, and the dense, cold air can practically be felt throughout the area as inversion layers stack upon one another.

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