Shift to La Nina shifts summer drought concerns

A climatologist says the shift to a La Nina weather pattern this summer also shifts where he’s watching potential drought.

Eric Snodgrass, chief science fellow at Nutrien Ag Solutions, says after several years of Corn Belt concerns…

“If you told me to pin down where I think the drought risk could be,” he says, “My assessment as of early April is going to tell you to watch the Southern plains, the mid-South, the Delta region, or the Southeast. In other words, the Cotton Belt, not the Corn Belt.”

He tells Brownfield historical data shows La Nina is typically favorable for the Corn Belt…

“What that often gives us is a warmer, hotter summer than average, but a stormier summer than average across the Corn Belt.”  He says, “So, it’s one of those odd years where we’re warm and wet, not cool and wet, or warm and dry.”

Snodgrass says the uncertainty lies in the timing…

“The trade winds return to their normal easterly behavior.”  He says, “You’re going to start see some cooler water up well, which will be another signal that folks will like to latch onto. So how long does it take? Do we get into full La Nina, full force La Nina pattern by summer? Possibly.”

But he says all indicators show El Nino to be over.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center gives a 62% chance of La Nina developing between June to August of this year.    

AUDIO: Eric Snodgrass – Nutrien Ag Solutions

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