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The Burns Reserve is cooler and more moist than areas of the Mojave farther east, due in part to its relatively high elevation at the eastern edge of the San Bernardino Mountains.  No record of temperature has been kept for the reserve; the nearest weather station is at the Yucca Valley office of the California Department of Forestry, 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) south.  There, recent summer high temperatures average 35'C (95'F), while winter lows average 1.1'C (30'F). 

Precipitation records were begun at the reserve during the winter of 1996-97, with 11.9 centimeters (4.7 inches) recorded between November and April.  However, annual precipitation is known to range widely, the average for the area is 25 centimeters (10 inches). 

Increasingly, paleoclimatology has become the focus of earth system research throughout the Mojave Desert.  Studies of plant seeds in ancient woodrat middens, including some discovered on a mesa just north of the reserve, suggest that in past times, since the last ice age ended approximately 14,000 years ago and before the start of an overall drying trend, the Mojave may have been significantly cooler and wetter.  Pinon-juniper woodlands and riparian communities were much more extensive in the Mojave then than they are today.  One researcher dates a more recent mesic period at 3,000 to 5,500 years ago. 

Researchers in the Mojave are also focusing on long-term studies of atmospheric changes.  Tropospheric ozone and its effects on desert vegetation have been monitored since 1985 at Joshua Tree National Park. 

Click here for current weather conditions at the Burns Reserve / Yucca Valley.

DRIDRI Weather Station Data Collection

Data table for graphs
Historical Weather Data





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Copyright 2002
University of California, Natural Reserve System
Last Updated 12/13/2010