The drought pattern that the central US has seen during the past 2 years goes well beyond La Nina. In my opinion we are seeing a cyclical clustering of drought conditions similar to what we have seen back in the 1980’s, 1950’s and 1930’s. Certainly La Nina may have helped to support the drought conditions but is not totally responsible for them.
In terms of changes in the pattern going forward we have clearly seen more rainfall in the the south-central US including the southern and eastern Midwest enhanced by the impact of Isaac. We have also seen an intensification of the dry pattern in the northern Plains, northwest Midwest and Canadian Prairies. With a clear northward shift in the drought pattern from 2011 to 2012 could this be indicating to us a further northward shift in the dry pattern for 2013? Expected weak El Nino conditions during the next 6 months could also support this dryness in the north-central US.
In conclusion it is my opinion that we have not seen the end of drought conditions for the 2013 growing season. However the core of the dry pattern will likely be different that what it was in 2011 or 2012 with my gut telling me it will be more over the northwest Midwest, northern Plains and Canadian Prairies.
© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.