Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Tuesday 11/27/12

Outlier Model Called 2012 Drought

In case you did not see this--a recent article on the Climate Central web site by Andrew Freedman highlights how there was one weather forecast model which predicted the Drought of 2012 several months before it developed. Here is an excerpt from Freedman's article (emphasis is mine):

For example, a computer model ensemble developed at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, N.J., correctly anticipated the heat and dryness in projections made as early as January 2012. Later projections in early March, with the model fed with, or "initialized," with weather and climate data from February, also showed a likelihood of much above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation across the Central U.S. during the spring and summer.

Here is a brief description of the GFDL from the lab's website:

The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) is engaged in comprehensive long lead-time research fundamental to NOAA's mission. Scientists at GFDL develop and use mathematical models and computer simulations to improve our understanding and prediction of the behavior of the atmosphere, the oceans, and climate. GFDL scientists focus on model-building relevant for society, such as hurricane research, prediction, and seasonal forecasting, and understanding global and regional climate change.

I will be very interested in any updates from the GFDL ensemble as we go into the end of this year and early 2013. I anticipate that its findings will get a lot of attention.

Here is the link to the GFDL website:…

And for the full article on the GFDL's drought forecast from early 2012, go to this link:…


I'm on Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 2:11PM CST 11/27/12 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (2)
I still think our drought in Iowa started back in early July 2011. We faired extremely well because of good soil moisture and new genetics that year despite drying conditions. You could tell with the winter we had and below normal springtime rains it could be a very dry year and it was. Good soil really showed it's worth vs. sandier soil. Plus new genetics that allowed better yields than what was planted in the 80's. Lots of times you hear of droughts lasting a couple years and I don't look for this to be any different altho I would expect it to worsen to the north and west. Some areas that were affected towards the south and east may see improvement. Overall don't expect a record year in 2013 even tho the USDA likes to start out predicting one each year. Point is there will be some good marketing opportunities again in 2013. So far the fall has been very dry ( like last year ) and I personally don't look for a rough winter. We will need some substantial springtime rains to get the crops off to a good start next year.
Posted by Greg Schipull at 4:12PM CST 11/27/12
The NW half of Iowa has indeed had some kind of drought classification for now well over a year. The rest of the state was out of drought per the Drought Monitor during late winter into late spring of this year. The western Corn Belt and northern/central Plains has the most extensive drought at this time of year in the history of the Drought Monitor according to D.M. archives. In the Southern Plains, Texas is not as bad as a year ago, but the Texas Panhandle north through Oklahoma and Kansas are almost like they were same time last year on drought categories.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:07AM CST 11/28/12
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