Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Friday 11/21/14

Record World Warmth in October

Following are highlights of the NOAA Global Climate Report for October. Some of the temperature departures from normal are impressive for the far-above-normal warming. The full report with graphics is at this link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/…

October 2014 blended land and sea surface temperature percentiles. Many global areas were either much warmer than average or record warmest. (Graphic courtesy of NOAA)

GLOBAL HIGHLIGHTS

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for October, at 0.74 deg C (1.33 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.0 deg C (57.1 deg F).

The global land surface temperature was 1.05 deg C (1.89 deg F) above the 20th century average of 9.3 deg C (48.7 deg F)—the fifth highest for October on record.

For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.62 deg C (1.12 deg F) above the 20th century average of 15.9 deg C (60.6 deg F) and the highest for October on record.

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January-October period (year-to-date) was 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.1 deg C (57.4 deg F). The first ten months of 2014 were the warmest such period on record.

With records dating back to 1880, the global temperature averaged across the world's land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.74 deg C (1.33 deg F) above the 20th century average. This also marks the third consecutive month and fifth of the past six with a record high global temperature for its respective month (July was fourth highest).

The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Southern Hemisphere was record warm overall with a record high land surface temperature for the month. The Northern Hemisphere was third warmest on record for October, with a record high average sea surface temperature.

Globally, the average land surface temperature was the fifth highest on record for October, at 1.05 deg C (1.89 deg F) above the 20th century average. Record warmth in much of southern South America and large parts of southern and western Australia contributed to the record high average land surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, record warmth was also observed in parts of southern Europe, the western coastal regions of the United States, and much of Far East Russia. On the other hand, parts of central Siberia observed temperatures 4-5 deg C (7-9 deg F) below average.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

Australia observed its highest nationally-averaged maximum temperature for October since official records began in 1910, at 2.76 deg C (4.97 deg F) above the 1961--1990 average. Combined with the eighth highest October minimum temperature on record, the mean October temperature (average of maximum and minimum temperatures) for the country was the second highest on record at 1.91 deg C (3.44 deg F) above average, behind only 1988. The warmth was notable for its spread across Australia; New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia all had record high mean temperatures for the month while Victoria had its second highest.

Austria had its seventh warmest October since national records began in 1767, with a temperature 2.2 deg C (4.0 deg F) higher than the 1981-2010 average. According to ZAMG, even if observed monthly temperatures during November and December are average, 2014 will still be the warmest year in the country's 248-year period of record.

Germany observed its third warmest October since national records began in 1881. The temperature was 2.9 deg C (5.2 deg F) higher than the 1961-1990 average and 2.7 deg C (4.9 deg F) higher than the more recent 1981-2010 average.

The October temperature for Norway was 1.8 deg C (3.2 deg F) higher than the 1981--2010 average. Parts of Rogeland and some areas in Ostafjells observed temperatures 3-4 deg C (5-7 deg F) above their average.

Denmark had its second warmest October since national records began in 1874, just 0.1 deg C (0.2 deg F) cooler than the record warmest October of 2006.

October 2014 in the United Kingdom tied as the 10th warmest October since national records began in 1910, at 1.6 deg C (2.9 deg F) above the 1981-2010 average. The October temperature for England was 1.9 deg C (3.4 deg F) higher than average, tying as the seventh highest temperature on record for October.

Switzerland had its fourth warmest October in the country's 150-year period of record. Measurement stations in Lugano, Locarno, Sion, and Geneva all reported record high temperatures for October, with Sion and Geneva 3 deg C (5 deg F) warmer than average for the month.

With records dating back to 1900, France also had its fourth warmest October, with a temperature 2.4 deg C (4.3 deg F) higher than the 1981--2010 average.

Sweden was warmer than average during October, with the southern half of the country experiencing temperatures 2-4 deg C (4-7 deg F) above their October averages. On October 28, the daily average temperature in Stockholm was 14.2 deg C (57.6 deg F), the highest daily average observed so late in the year since records began in 1756 (258 years ago).

The global oceans were the warmest on record for October, with a temperature that averaged 0.62 deg C (1.12 deg F) higher than the 20th century average. This marks the sixth month in a row (beginning in May 2014) that the global ocean temperature broke its monthly temperature record. October 2014 also ties with June 2014 for the third highest ocean temperature departure on average for any month on record; the second highest departure from average occurred in August 2014 and the all-time highest occurred just last month.

These record and near-record warm global sea surface temperatures have all occurred in the absence of El Nino, a large-scale warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean that generally occurs every five to seven years on average. However, there is close to a 60 percent chance for El Nino to officially develop during the Northern Hemisphere winter, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The potential El Nino is favored to be weak and last into Northern Hemisphere spring 2015. This forecast focuses on the ocean surface temperatures between 5 deg N and 5 deg S latitude and 170 deg W to 120 deg W longitude.

The first ten months of 2014 (January-October) were the warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 and tied in 2010 by 0.02 deg C (0.04 deg F). 2014 is currently on track to be the warmest year on record.

The most recent 12-month period, November 2013-October 2014, broke the record (set just last month) for the all-time warmest 12-month period in the 135-year period of record, at 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above average, with November 2013 and May, June, August, September, and October 2014 all record warm for their respective months. (originally published as 0.69 deg C, corrected 20 Nov 2014)

For January-October, the average global sea surface temperature was also record high, beating the previous record of 1998 by 0.03 deg C (0.05 deg F). The average global land surface temperature tied with 1998 and 2002 as the fourth highest on record. Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world.

OCTOBER PRECIPITATION

As is typical, October precipitation anomalies varied significantly around the world.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

Most of Japan observed above-average rainfall during October, with much of eastern Japan reporting precipitation that was significantly above average. Typhoons Vongfong and Phanfone, which struck Japan within about a week of one another, contributed to the high precipitation totals.

Very Severe Cyclone Hudhud struck the coast of southeastern India in mid-October, bringing heavy rainfall to the region. One localized area in the state of Andhra Pradesh reported a 24-hour rainfall total of 15 inches (380 mm).

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 11:04AM CST 11/21/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (3)
Its funny you didn't mention much about the United States in your report. I'm sure at least in Iowa we had one of the coolest summers on record. Are you sure the NOAA incorporated some of the below normal temps in the Midwest in this report?????
Posted by DUSTIN RICKERTSEN at 10:55PM CST 11/23/14
It has been a warm November in North Dakota! Or maybe not.
Posted by JONATHON EATON at 12:43AM CST 11/24/14
Its funny you didn't mention the fall elections, US voted that there is no global warming!!!!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:05AM CST 11/24/14
 

Thursday 11/20/14

Low Confidence in Weather Outlook for Western Canada

The calendar says we are still in the final month of meteorological fall, but we all know winter has taken over across much of North America in grand scale during the middle portion of November. Record low temperatures and record snow cover extent make our senses think it is later December or January.

The course our weather patterns have taken during the past two weeks do not appear to be the course we will be on during the next two weeks, according to the computer models that most weather scientists use each day. Changes are blowing in the wind as the strong high latitude blocking is currently decaying. We most likely will see a pattern a little more in keeping with late November during the next week.

The cold air making machine is breaking down, at least for now, and a more progressive west-to-east weather pattern is likely to bring moderating temperatures as well as a couple of snow chances during the next week. Temperatures are expected to be closer to normal by this weekend into next week. Compared to the past week, temperatures will feel like a heat wave.

The forecast for the remainder of the month is not quite etched in stone though, as not all model forecasts are on board for a more relaxed late-fall weather pattern. Some versions of the many runs of each model are hinting that somewhat of a return of blocking patterns and very cold weather could take place later this month.

Other model versions are not on board with the cold scenario and leave us with a cautious forecast for less cold later this month. This winter's forecast is likely to be more complex than last, as there are more potential players in the mix. An El Nino of modest proportions appears to be in place which throws in the potential of some mild, dry conditions in at some point. Blocking reared its ugly head 10 days ago and could return without too much warning turning mild breezes to frigid winds.

The large pool of anomalously warm ocean water through the Gulf of Alaska is not present this year and may have been a contributor to a nearly endless western North America ridge and cold of last winter. The differences from last winter leave us with more questions than answers and this may be one of those years where we roll with the punches.

Weather conditions may be quite, if not highly, variable during the next few months as El Nino plays a tug-of-war with periods when some blocking develops. The variability seen already during November may be a clue as to where the winter weather will take us.

Doug Webster can be reached at doug.webster@dtn.com

(ES)

Posted at 10:43AM CST 11/20/14 by Doug Webster
 

Tuesday 11/18/14

Harsh Cold Brings Late Harvest Issues

I received an e-mail comment on this January-like cold weather pattern from an Upper MIdwest producer that was like a dash of--illustration intended--cold water. It went like this:

"Combines filled with snow and ice. Trucks (and) grain cart tractors gelled."

Of course! It's one thing to have cold air--but THIS kind of cold hitting harvest fields? With probably most fuel mixtures not in winter mode--and machinery not expected to have to be worked with in a snowstorm environment. Those sentences put a new slant on the weather situation for the final 11 percent of the U.S. corn crop to be harvested and the last 6 percent of soybeans. After all--Wisconsin has 7 percent of its soybeans and 36 percent of its corn still to be harvested and Michigan has 8 percent of its soybeans 41 percent of its corn left in the field. Other parts of the eastern Corn Belt have a ways to go also with Indiana still with 16 percent of its corn left to harvest; Ohio 19 percent. North Dakota has 15 percent left. Colorado 16 percent. And Pennsylvania has 21 percent still to go.

The slant that my source's e-mail reminded me of is this--that this bitter cold needs to be looked at in relation to harvest in more than just a field or crop perspective. Cold weather firms up the ground, which allows for machinery to roll along better. We're all familiar with that line. But if it's so cold that a combine--or a truck--or a tractor--won't start--well, there's not much progress on that frozen ground after all.

So, this last stage of harvest will be a bit of an adventure. Will the market care? It's doubtful considering the size of the total harvest. But there may be some local basis moves depending on how things go. At the very least, there will be several million bushels that don't cause a storage problem for at least a short while.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Posted at 2:37PM CST 11/18/14 by Bryce Anderson
 

Friday 11/14/14

Brazil Rainfall Update

Here's a rundown of the Brazil crop area rainfall totals compiled by my colleague Joel Burgio. There are still some dry pockets in the eastern part of the country, but definitely not in southern areas. Amounts are for the time period September 1-November 13 and are displayed in inches.

First, for the major soybean areas.

STATE Total Normal Pct of Normal

Goias 5.90 11.44 52

Mato Grosso 9.27 9.74 95

MG do Sul 8.77 9.40 93

Parana 14.84 13.00 115

Santa Caterina 28.81 12.71 225

RG do Sul 20.55 12.53 164

And--here is the detail for the two leading coffee states, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais

Sao Paulo 7.93 10.28 77

Minas Gerais 6.54 10.71 61

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES/AG/CZ)

Posted at 2:20PM CST 11/14/14 by Bryce Anderson
 

Thursday 11/13/14

Arctic Cold In Canada

Winter's cold air descended upon western and central Canada a few days ago bringing back memories of last winter. A weather pattern very much the same as we saw so frequently last winter and spring is now in place across North America.

High latitude blocking appeared almost out of the blue less than a week ago and now grips the Northern Hemisphere and completely disrupted the modest El Nino pattern that had been in place during October. The polar vortex that was along the north coast of Russia during October now is across the Hudson Bay region of Canada. A ridge near Canada's West Coast blocks any warming influence from the Pacific Ocean.

This type of pattern allows arctic air to quickly form at this time of year. The nights are long and snow now covers nearly all of Canada. High pressure across the snow-covered landscape allows temperatures to plummet. This weather pattern creating cold air is well established now, but how long should we expect the siege of winter cold to last?

The answer is a tough one. A year ago, a neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) condition prevailed and high latitude blocking was nearly endless all winter and spring allowing low temperatures to be dominant. This year, we have seen El Nino on the verge of blossoming across the Pacific; during October, many of El Nino type weather conditions developed across the U.S. and Canada. The mild, mostly dry weather across the Prairies was one of these parameters.

With El Nino potential existing this winter, but also with the renewed blocking patterns of the recent week, where we go from here is more clouded. Blocking appears to be the key for what kind of weather we may experience. The blocking of the past week has completely disrupted the once seemingly well-established El Nino like pattern across Western Canada.

Models have great difficulty in seeing the development of blocking, as well as its demise. If the blocking disappears, it's a pretty good bet that the milder-than-normal regime of an El Nino like pattern will return. The problem is we are at the mercy of the model inability to give us much notice of blocking's entrance and exit.

Our gut feeling is that this might be one of those winters when we see some rather great extremes in temperature. We do not feel blocking will be in place all of the time like last year, but when it is, it will likely be quite cold. When blocking weakens or disappears, it can turn much milder and in a hurry.

The model outlook to 16 days tells us today that blocking weakens but doesn't disappear during the late part of November. This would imply a turn to milder weather after another week or so of very cold weather. The problem is that these are the types of changes that the models have the least skill with and confidence is low on the forecast for this time period.

We may have one of those winters where we have to roll with the punches and accept that we may not have lots of notice when some substantial temperature changes take place.

Doug Webster can be reach at doug.webster@dtn.com

(ES)

Posted at 10:48AM CST 11/13/14 by Doug Webster
Comments (1)
I will take the cold, if it helps the grain market warm up. I see the combines are rolling in the snow covered fields again.
Posted by GWL 61 at 11:42AM CST 11/13/14
 

Wednesday 11/12/14

Duration Of Cold May Be Impressive

To start out this blog entry, I call your attention to the final paragraph of a post that my colleague Doug Webster authored just two weeks ago on Thursday, October 30. In writing an update on the weather pattern for the Canadian Prairies, Doug concluded with this comment:

"The key to the upcoming winter pattern will be if and when any high latitude blocking high pressure develops and where the polar vortex decides to be. If the polar vortex stays more on the Asian side and blocking is minimal then the milder El Nino aspect of the pattern is likely to be a more important player. If blocking returns along with a stronger polar vortex across North America then the El Nino pattern will be disrupted."

Jump ahead two weeks, and what are we experiencing? We have high latitude blocking high pressure over northwestern Canada and portions of Greenland. We have also had the polar vortex migrating across the North Pole and onto the North America side of the polar region, with the result being the bitter cold wave that has covered the entire central U.S. and is heading toward the eastern and southeastern sectors of the country. Only the far western and southern portions are truly escaping the incursion of this cold wave.

This very cold pattern is of course far out of season. It's one thing to have this type of cold move in during late December and into January--after all, that's the period with the shortest days of the year in the northern hemisphere, so we expect that. But mid-November is still a time period when Indian Summer conditions are possible. I don't associate air temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit and wind chill index values of well below zero F with Veterans' Day--but that's what we have.

Have we had cold snaps of similar magnitude in the past--yes, of course we have. One such event was the Armistice Day Freeze in November 1940, when a quick and brutal cold wave swooped into the Midwest following a very mild October-early November period--one of the Indian Summer occasions. That cold wave killed many acres of apple trees, and likely wiped out true commercial fruit production in the western Midwest.

But--a big difference between that event and the Big Chill we have in effect now is that, back in 1940, the cold snap came in, did its (significant) damage, and then modified in just a few days. That's not the case with this Arctic package. Forecast charts have this very cold pattern staying around for the better part of two weeks at least.

That hanging around--the duration--of this cold wave is where the real records may come into play. It will be noteworthy to see how many days are tabulated with temperatures in the range of ten to twenty degrees Fahrenheit below normal. That is an outrageous--extreme--departure from normal and may be the real legacy of the November 2014 cold wave.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 4:16AM CST 11/12/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (2)
What happened to global warming? Is it warm some where in the world? Cold wave similar to 1940 maybe 1800 something, climate hasn't changed much.
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 8:33AM CST 11/13/14
We'll of course have to wait for the entire month of November to be tabulated--however, NOAA's U.S. climate report for October shows that October was a warm month. The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. last month was 57.1 degrees Fahrenheit--three degrees F above the 20th century average. This made October 2014 the fourth-warmest October on record. The October precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 2.33 inches, or 0.17 inch above average, ranking near the middle of the 120-year period of record. The global State of the Climate report will be issued next week, on Thursday November 20. The full U.S. climate report for October is at this link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 9:18AM CST 11/14/14
 

Monday 11/10/14

Jekyll-Hyde October In Missouri

The following article from the University of Missouri extension service points out just how back-and-forth the month of October was in the western Corn Belt.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A lot of rain fell on Missouri the first half of October. The second half was, thankfully, dry.

Several counties in central Missouri had more than 10 inches of rain.

“We have records that go all the way back to the late 1800s, and you will not find a wetter first two weeks of October for the state,” said Pat Guinan, climatologist for University of Missouri Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program.

After that wet start, a pattern change turned off the tap and fairer weather dominated the last half of October. Even with drier conditions for the second half, the precipitation for the entire month was above normal.

“The preliminary data is indicating that October 2014 will rank as sixth or seventh wettest October on record,” Guinan said. “That’s how wet the first half was.”

Rain stopped harvest for much of October and farmers were unable to return to their fields until the final days of the month, Guinan said.

While the rain did slow the harvest, it brought one great benefit.

“Drought has been eliminated across our state,” Guinan said. “The Drought Mitigation Center map indicates no drought in Missouri.”

October temperatures were not as extreme as precipitation, but there were some highs. Guinan says on Oct. 25-26 temperatures climbed to the mid- and upper-80s. The monthly temperatures averaged slightly above normal.

“With the exception of a cool July and September, slightly above-average temperatures dominated this year’s growing season, so it was a decent growing season when you look at temperatures,” Guinan said.

Missouri saw its first widespread freeze on Halloween night, with temperatures dipping into the 20s and 30s. Guinan says that effectively ended the 2014 growing season.

(ES)

Posted at 11:11AM CST 11/10/14 by Bryce Anderson
 

Thursday 11/06/14

Weather Pattern Hitting Canada Similar to Last Year

As October turned into November, all seemed quiet on the western front with a weather pattern dotted with El Nino type characteristics from North to South America. Milder-than-normal Pacific air had been flowing in across the Canadian Prairies and helped harvest to finish nearly on schedule.

Nearly all, if not all, of our computer weather models were forecasting a continuation of a mostly benign weather pattern featuring mostly mild weather as a west-to-east jet stream flow stayed put. These forecasts seemed locked to this pattern through November.

What a difference a week can make. Beginning this past weekend, hints of change started to show up as all of our model products made a turn toward high latitude blocking across the Northern Hemisphere. The advance warning was about as close to none as can be.

During the mid to late October period, the main polar vortex was making a home near the north coast of Russia on the Asian side of the Northern Hemisphere, but during the first few days of November this vortex started to shift toward the North Pole and has since started to move into northern Canada. These were probably the hints that change was coming.

Super Typhoon Nuri has been racing northeastward through the western Pacific during recent days and is due to become an extremely intense gale through the Bering Sea during the coming days. This event is likely to push lots of warmth northward into Alaska with the downstream effect being the development of a trough through central North America.

As you guessed it, the polar vortex is likely to make a trip south to southernmost Canada by this time next week and bring a big turnaround in the weather across much of Canada and the U.S. A weather pattern much like we saw a lot of the time last winter will evolve quickly during the coming days, helped by blocking across northwest Canada and Alaska and Greenland sending a surge of arctic air southward through western and central Canada into the central and eventually eastern U.S.

The Canadian Prairies can plan on seeing a major temperature drop Sunday into Monday possibly lasting through most of next week. Readings should fall to well below normal and some record cold is not out of the question. Some snow may precede and accompany the arrival of the arctic blast laying down a snow cover that only will help intensify the cold.

In earlier blogs we have spoken about the influence that blocking has on our weather and the next week will be a prime example of that. High latitude blocking can completely overwhelm and disrupt what appears to be a well-established mild weather pattern with little notice. It should be noted that as quickly as blocking is developing, it can also disappear fast. While it looks like winter is racing into town, soon it is entirely possible that 10 days from now mild breezes could be again flowing across the Prairies.

Based on the past week, confidence of what things may look like in 10 days have fallen to the basement. The key to the pattern coming later this month will be if the blocking hangs on or if it breaks down. At this point the best thing to do is batten down the hatches and be ready for change at nearly any time.

Doug Webster can be reach at doug.webster@dtn.com

(BA/ES)

Posted at 11:26AM CST 11/06/14 by Doug Webster
 

Tuesday 11/04/14

Weather Tidbits And Commentary

A few weather tidbits and comments:

According to the state climatologist in Iowa, last week in Iowa was the driest statewide in almost 2 years with only a handful of stations picking up any measurable rain. This dry trend was perfect for harvest. It also shows how wet the pattern has become again since the drought of 2012.

Also noted is a report out of Tennessee that eastern Tennessee received its earliest measurable snowfall since 1925. However--early snowfall does not necessarily mean a snowy winter.

Despite the fact that no government agencies have declared an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, our feeling is we have been in an El Nino for the last month or so. Our calculation of the eastern Pacfiic sea surface temperature departure for the month of October has risen to a plus 1.3 from a plus 0.7 in September. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is now at -9.3 in the 30 and 90-day readings. These are both above the thresholds of an El Nino. And we have also been seeing El Nino characteristics of the weather pattern in North America, South America and Australia.

It seems at this point in time that the upcoming winter will continue to feature some El Nino characteristics. The most likely characteristic will be an active storm track over the southern and eastern U.S. What is more questionable is how mild the winter will be. In a classic El Nino, the country is on the mild side due to a prevalent Pacific flow. This warming is most pronounced in the north-central U.S. However, the blocking high pressure patterns across the far northern latitudes that have been so prevalent during the past couple of years could continue to show up at times allowing for surges of cold air into the U.S. How this cold air phases with the storm track will determine how much snow we get and also how far to the north and west from the classic El Nino storm track we see winter storms travel.

It is interesting to note, going back to the comment from the Iowa state climatologist, that last week was the driest in the past couple of years. The last few weeks have featured little blocking in the far northern latitudes. Prior to this, blocking has been quite common during the past couple of years since the end of the year 2012. Blocking patterns tend to give you a more-favorable growing season due to their tendency to promote cool and unsettled conditions. They also tend to promote rather cold and sometimes snowy winters.

The latest theory recently presented by the University of Tokyo is that blocking patterns in the higher latitudes are increasing due to vanishing Arctic sea ice. This promotes a weakening of the jet stream in the far northern latitudes, allowing more high pressure to build and forcing the cold weather associated with the polar vortex further to the south. An interesting theory and one that I think should be given further attention.

Mike

Posted at 4:05PM CST 11/04/14 by Mike Palmerino
Comments (2)
Will there be any warning as to when & if this high latitude blocking begins to move & where it will set up shop?
Posted by JERRY KOCHANIUK at 8:48AM CST 11/05/14
Unfortunately there will be little warning. We had gone virtually all of October with little sign of blocking and more El Nino like characteristics of the weather. All of a sudden this past weekend the 8-10 day models started to completely change showing extensive blocking developing over Alaska and northern Canada for next week. This will lead to a major outbreak of cold air into the central US next week.
Posted by Michael Palmerino at 10:45AM CST 11/05/14
 

Saturday 11/01/14

Possible Wet Early Nov In S. Plains

We have some forecast model disagreement for an early November storm system in the southern Plains that will command attention these first few days of November. During the Sunday through Wednesday time frame, upper-level low pressure (trough) will move from the West Coast across the central U.S. This trough will interact with a cold front over the southern half of the country to bring either "some" or "heavy" precipitation to the southern Plains.

The U.S. and European forecast models have some notable disagreement on the speed of the western U.S. trough as it moves eastward. The U.S. model has the trough moving rather quickly through the Plains and into the Delta and mid-South during the Sunday-Wednesday period. The European model, on the other hand, has the trough moving at a slower pace. This is an important difference--because a slower progression of the trough would draw in more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the western half of Texas, and thus would mean some significant precipitation of at least one inch in liquid amounts--possibly more--for western Texas and at least the southern half of the Texas Panhandle. Note that I said one inch in "liquid amounts"--because with a cold front in the region, at least some light snow is not out of the question.

Another wrinkle in this scenario is that the eastern Pacific Ocean is still an active tropical weather system producer. We experienced the effects of that attribute back in September when a series of eastern Pacific systems--Norbert, Odile, and Polo--contributed to heavy rain in the central U.S. and delayed the start of fall harvest. This time, Tropical Storm Vance is a potential player in the forecast, with a possible addition of tropical moisture from the eastern Pacific to the party. That moisture helps to fill the atmosphere and contributes both to a higher likelihood of precipitation and heavier potential amounts.

Finally, this activity is starting in the Far West, with rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This entire package of unsettled weather is a characteristic of El Nino--which in our DTN Ag Weather group's opinion has been in effect for some time now.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES/AG/CZ)

Posted at 7:14AM CDT 11/01/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
Very nice needed 2-inch here in Northwest Oklahoma last night. Winter wheat plants are mostly all up and looks good. Some of the area farmers their wheat is just coming up out of the ground and some are getting ready to turn cattle out on the earlier planted wheat.
Posted by Gordon Stebens at 11:42AM CST 11/04/14
 

Thursday 10/30/14

El Nino Showing Up In Prairies Weather

Western Canada's crops are almost all in the bin and while it had been a good harvest yield-wise there have been quality issues for crops this fall due mostly to the early September frosts, freezes and snow. Most areas have reported quality levels well below that of both 2012 and 2013 despite yields that are above the 10-year average.

Soil moisture levels continue to be good this fall supporting the establishment of any fall seeding. The milder-than-average October has also been an aid to getting fall planting in the ground and started.

As we wrap up the 2014 crop season, we start to increase our focus on what the 2014-15 winter may hold in store for Western Canada. Last winter's bitter cold and snow were a result of pronounced upper level blocking across northern and northeastern Canada combined with a neutral ENSO pattern.

The circumstances are definitely different as we move toward the start of November this year. While an El Nino is not officially in place by government definition, we do see many of the signals of an El Nino across North and South America. Another stark difference from this time a year ago is the complete lack of blocking across Canada and the high latitudes in general. The main polar vortex has been making a home on the Asian side of the northern hemisphere so far this fall, not across north-central Canada.

These differences from last fall could have a major impact on our winter's weather if they stay in place. The current pattern as it is set up would favor a mild weather pattern with infrequent periods of precipitation across the Prairies. The million dollar question is whether and how long can this pattern maintain itself?

Model projections are indicating that we may look forward to more mild weather well into if not through November. A mostly west to east flow is forecast across Canada and the U.S. for the coming few weeks which brings lots of Pacific air inland across the North American continent. This air is quite mild versus normal at this time of year.

The pattern as it is shown now prevents the development of Arctic high pressure across northern and northwestern Canada. The cold air making machine of last winter is nowhere to be found for now. Down the road we will have to monitor for any shifts of the position of the polar vortex and whether or not some high latitude blocking returns.

While everything looks rosy now, history tells us that drastic changes can take place. There have been years when mild conditions prevailed into early winter than the bottom dropped out. For now, we can be cautiously optimistic that we will not see a repeat of last winter, at least with the nearly endless cold and snow. Even in the most mild of winters there are a few periods of cold and snow.

The key to the upcoming winter pattern will be if and when any high latitude blocking high pressure develops and where the polar vortex decides to be. If the polar vortex stays more on the Asian side and blocking is minimal then the milder El Nino aspect of the pattern is likely to be a more important player. If blocking returns along with a stronger polar vortex across North America then the El Nino pattern will be disrupted.

Doug Webster can be reached at doug.webster@dtn.com

(ES)

Posted at 11:04AM CDT 10/30/14 by Doug Webster
 

Wednesday 10/29/14

World Wheat Moisture Issues

It's worth a few minutes to mention some possible areas of concern in the world wheat production scene. We're certainly not in danger of running out of wheat--production in 2014/15 is pegged by USDA worldwide at more than 720 million metric tons with a world carryout of almost 193 mmt. Still, we have seen in the not-too-distant past that if problems show up at the right time in wheat, there can be a ripple effect in the markets across the grain trade. Here are some areas that deserve attention:

AUSTRALIA--production estimates are being revised downward during the late spring in the southern hemisphere primarily because of a drier trend in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. These states in September received on average only 45 percent of their normal rainfall. Plus, some record high temperatures have occurred, which also cause stress to the wheat crop ahead of harvest.

RUSSIA--it's very early in the wheat production cycle, just as it is in North America winter wheat areas. However, there is a drier trend to start out the season. A summary of September precipitation compiled by Informa Economics shows that Russia winter wheat areas had an average of just 65 percent of normal precipitation, and Russia spring wheat areas totaled less than half--just 49 percent--of normal precipitation. There's a long way to go of course, but this is of some concern. There have also been comments made in wire service reports which compare this dry September to the same month in 2009--and the summer following, in 2010, was the summer that featured the drought-enhanced fires around Moscow.

UKRAINE--major wheat areas of Ukraine join Russia in being dry over the past few weeks. Total precipitation for the month of September was 70 percent of normal. While that's not bone-dry, it's still a fair amount below the typical total.

BRAZIL--while there has been much attention given to the onset of rain in the soybean belt of Brazil, and the chance for that moisture to expand into the coffee and sugarcane areas, there is also a possible development on the other side of the rainfall ledger in the southern Brazil state of Rio Grande do Sul. This state's wheat crop has gotten mighty wet recently with more heavy rain on the way during the coming weekend. This could cause some quality issues in the Brazil wheat crop as a result.

These international areas bear keeping track of, but there are also several locations in the U.S. which may come under scrutiny as the rest of this season moves on:

MIDWEST---planting of soft red winter wheat is noticeably behind schedule in Illinois and Missouri. Illinois is 41 percent planted as of Sunday October 26 (34 percentage points below the average 75 percent) and Missouri is only 38 percent planted (17 points behind the average 55 percent). Indiana and Michigan are lagging their SRW planting rates by around ten percentage points each (Indiana 67 versus 75, Michigan 77 versus 86). The reason for this delay? Heavy rain during early and mid-October, along with some fairly cool temperatures caused extensive disruptions to planting.

SOUTHERN PLAINS (Kansas/Oklahoma/Texas)--these states have a big difference in oil moisture levels. In Kansas, the western third of the state--which has been the driest over the several years--generally has topsoil moisture supplies rated around 40 percent short to very short. It's drier in Oklahoma, where topsoil moisture supplies are rated 56 percent short to very short. And in the Texas Panhandle, topsoil is still in the range of 55-60 percent short to very short.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST---Informa Economics places total precipitation for month of October to date at seven percent above normal in Washington, but 40 percent below normal in Oregon. For the year (based on a start date of July 1), Washington precipitation is listed as four percent below normal but Oregon's is pegged at 45 percent below normal.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(SK/CZ)

Posted at 3:22PM CDT 10/29/14 by Bryce Anderson
 

Friday 10/24/14

It's All About The Block

We have had almost a tale of two Octobers this month. The first half of the month had its share of storms and rain across much of the central U.S. with associated issues with harvest. That round of difficult weather was replaced this past week, however, by a huge round of warm and dry conditions. In fact, we will likely see quite a few record high temperatures in the southern Plains this weekend; values to the low 90s are even possible in southwestern Oklahoma and northern Texas.

The genesis for this switch in weather fortunes can be traced to a major development in northern Canada--the weakening and fading of blocking high pressure in the northern Canadian territories. As we have described before, the occurrence of upper-atmosphere high pressure over northern Canada has been around to some extent for most of the past 18 months. Its influence was noted last spring with the rain and cool temperatures; a stormy late spring-early summer round of conditions--and of course the very cool conditions in July. That blocking high--whether it was located over Alaska, northern Canada or Greenland--forced the polar jet stream south and kept things cool and unsettled.

But in the past two to three weeks, the weather maps have been empty over the northern latitudes. Blocking high pressure has not been around. And the result has been a more zonal air pattern, with a pronounced west-to-east tendency. That allows milder conditions to form--and at harvest time, those drier conditions are very useful for harvest progress. And so, we have two far different scenarios on the ag weather scene going into late October compared with earlier in the month.

If one is looking for a "magic bullet" for the winter forecast, the key variable will be if we have this blocking high decides to return or not--and this may well be independent of El Nino development. If blocking returns, we could see a quite cold and stormy winter--but if not, the typical El Nino tendencies are more likely to rule the scene. A big caveat here is that orecast models, as noted by NOAA, are not at this point able to discern many details about the formation of blocking high pressure, either forecasting its development, or its demise. This quirky entity will drive the fortunes the rest of this fall and into winter.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 1:56PM CDT 10/24/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
How much warning could there be if this blocking pattern starts to set up? How is this being monitored?
Posted by JERRY KOCHANIUK at 8:18AM CDT 10/31/14
 

Thursday 10/23/14

Warmth Helps Prairie Harvest

El Nino is not officially in place according to the government, but we have seen many of the attributes of El Nino show their face across North and South America during the recent weeks. A couple such attributes are the warmth and mostly dry weather that the Canadian crop region has enjoyed since the mid-September burst of wintry weather.

The main jet stream has been traveling in from the Pacific Ocean across central latitudes of Canada allowing for relatively mild Pacific air to push over the Rockies and downslope across the Prairies. The lack of an upper level ridge across Western Canada and little or no blocking so far this fall has prevented any significant cold from developing across the cold air source regions of northwest and northern Canada.

This pattern has allowed crops to be swathed and harvested at a quick pace during recent weeks and for many areas the harvest is nearly complete. The timing of final harvest may be good, since there are some signs that a downward trend in temperature is about to take hold and some of the expected precipitation for early next week may not be all in the form of rain.

The later we go into the fall, the more difficult it becomes to hold off the advances of fall and early winter weather. The days are growing shorter at a rapid pace and it is inevitable that the main jet stream flow will start to make its seasonal southward shift, even when it appears that some part of an El Nino weather pattern may try to stick around.

In the shorter term of the next two weeks, we see more chances of some colder weather and some early season snow and rain for the Prairies. We do not yet see anything that is out of the ordinary for this time of year and there still appears to be some El Nino aspects to the pattern that may modify any significant winter weather to a more benign state.

As for the upcoming winter, there are still questions to be answered: Is El Nino going to evolve and become more of a player or will it remain weak and not much of a factor? As we know, an El Nino normally gives the Prairies mild, dry weather during the winter.

Blocking like we saw last winter probably won't happen again, at least with the nearly never ending pace it had. We can't rule out blocking to appear again, but will it stick around for a period of time or just pop up and go away like we've seen during the late summer and early fall?

Blocking is the wild card in how the winter may turn out and November's weather patterns sometimes give us a clue how the winter will go. Minimal blocking and El Nino conditions will bring a winter much different than last year, while a return of some blocked patterns at times will bring back some of last winter's ugly weather at times. Hopefully we can get a better grasp as to where we are going during the next few weeks.

Doug Webster can be reached at doug.webster@dtn.com

Posted at 10:43AM CDT 10/23/14 by Doug Webster
 

Monday 10/20/14

NOAA: Record-Warm September

NOAA's September Global Climate Summary features--as has been the case several other times this year--a new all-time historic record-keeping warm value for world temperatures.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

October 20, 2014

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA scientists. It also marked the 38th consecutive September with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for September occurred in 1976.

This monthly summary from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, the business sector, academia and the public to support informed decision making.

Global temperature highlights: September

Land and Ocean Combined: The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was record highest for the month at 60.30 deg F (15.72 deg C) or 1.30 deg F (0.72 deg C) above the 20th century average of 59.0 deg F (15.0 deg C). The margin of error is +/- 0.22 deg F (0.12 deg C). With the exception of February, every month to date in 2014 has been among its four warmest on record, with May, June, August and September all record warm.

Land Only: The September global land temperature was the sixth highest on record for September at 1.60 deg F (0.89 deg C) above the 20th century average of 53.6 deg F (12.0 deg C), with a margin of error of +/- 0.43 deg F (0.24 deg C). Warmer-than-average temperatures were evident over most of the global land surface, except for central Russia, some areas in eastern and northern Canada, and a small region in Namibia. Record warmth was notable in much of northwestern Africa, coastal regions of southeastern South America, southwestern Australia, parts of the Middle East, and regions of southeastern Asia.

Some national land temperature highlights include: Ocean Only: The September global sea surface temperature was 1.19 deg F (0.66 deg C) above the 20th century average of 61.1 deg F (16.2 deg C), the highest on record for September. This also marked the highest departure from average for any month since records began in 1880, breaking the previous record of 1.17 deg F (0.65 deg C) set just one month earlier in August. This is the third time in 2014 this all-time record has been broken. The margin of error is +/- 0.07 deg F (0.04 deg C). Record warmth was observed in parts of every major ocean basin, particularly notable in the northeastern and equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The September maximum temperature for Australia was 3.65 deg F (2.03 deg C) higher than the 1961-1990 average, the fifth highest for the month since national records began in 1910. The state of Western Australia was record warm at 4.95 deg F (2.75 deg C) above average, breaking the previous record set in 1980 by 0.79 deg F (0.44 deg C). Tasmania reported its second highest September maximum temperature on record and Victoria its seventh highest.

Many countries in Europe were warmer than average during September, including Norway, Germany, Finland, Austria, and France. Denmark reported its seventh warmest September since national records began in 1874, while the United Kingdom had its fourth warmest in the country’s 115-year period of record.

Although El Nino conditions were not officially present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during September 2014, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center favors El Nino to begin in the next one to two months and last into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2015.

Snow and ice highlights: September

Arctic: On September 17, Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent at 1.94 million square miles, the sixth smallest in the 1979-2014 satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This was 463,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, but 622,000 square miles larger than the record small minimum that occurred in 2012. Between the annual maximum extent that occurred in March and the minimum extent, the Arctic lost 3.82 million square miles of ice during the 2014 melt season, the ninth most on record but the least since 2006.

The average September Arctic sea ice extent was 2.04 million square miles, 480,000 square miles (19.02 percent) below the 1981–2010 average and the sixth smallest on record. Much-below-average sea ice was observed in the Laptev, Kara and Chukchi Seas; above-average sea ice was observed in the Barents Sea. Near-average ice extent in the Canadian Archipelago caused the Northeast Passage to remain closed, unlike recent Septembers when the sea route was navigable by ship.

Antarctic: On September 22, Antarctic sea ice reached its annual maximum extent at 7.76 million square miles, 595,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and the largest maximum Antarctic sea ice extent in the 1979-2014 satellite record. This beat the previous record set just last year by approximately 216,000 square miles and marked the third consecutive year that a new record maximum sea ice extent has been set in the Antarctic.

The average September Antarctic sea ice extent was 7.73 million square miles, 480,000 square miles (6.60 percent) above the 1981-2010 average. This was the largest September average Antarctic sea ice extent on record and the largest average Antarctic sea ice extent for any month. This bested the previous September Antarctic sea ice extent record set last year by approximately 80,000 square miles. Much-above-average sea ice was observed in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.

Precipitation highlights: September

As is typical, extreme wet and extreme dry conditions were scattered across the globe. Select notable events include the following:

High pressure systems not only brought warmth to the United Kingdom during September, but also record dryness. The country had its driest September since records began in 1910, with just 20 percent of average rainfall for the month. Besides breaking the record itself, this rainfall deficit is particularly notable because the preceding eight-month period of January-August was the wettest such period on record for the country.

The Southwest Indian Monsoon began its annual withdrawal in September, but the withdrawal began later than normal. From June 1 to September 30, India as a whole received 88 percent of average seasonal rainfall for the period. All regions were below average, with Northwest India experiencing the greatest precipitation deficit, receiving 79 percent of average rainfall. Most of the below-average rainfall for India can be attributed to below-average precipitation during June and early July. In early September, the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, along with the neighboring region in Pakistan, experienced intense flooding from downpours that brought over a foot of rain. More than 400 residents perished due to the disaster.

Global temperature highlights: Year-to-date

Land and Ocean Combined: January-September tied with 1998 as the warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature 1.22 deg F (0.68 deg C) above the 20th century average of 57.5 deg F (14.1 deg C). If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest year on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.20 deg F (0.11 deg C).

Land Only: The January-September worldwide land surface temperature was 1.75 deg F (0.97 deg C) above the 20th century average, the sixth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.41 deg F (0.23 deg C).

Ocean Only: The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 1.03 deg F (0.57 deg C) above average, the warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/-0.09 deg F (0.05 deg C).

Full report and graphics are at this link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/…

(ES/AG/CZ)

Posted at 11:08AM CDT 10/20/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (6)
Aren't there problems with urban encroachment on many global temperature taking thermometers? I know the one for Fresno was once advertised to have been moved south about 10 or 20 miles; but the heat island of Fresno normally blows in that direction. Isn't global atmospheric temperature better measured by satellites (which do not show such dire increases as described in the article)?
Posted by H. Clay Daulton at 8:07PM CDT 10/21/14
This topic has been discussed before in this space. Thermometer placement has been verified as fairly representing what is going on in the atmosphere.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:59AM CDT 10/22/14
Clay, I too asked Bryce about satellites. He defiantly referred back to the accuracy of urban weather stations rather than answer whether or not the satellites are accurate. NOAA has closed some 600 weather stations reportedly for the reason you asserted. However, NOAA supposedly has models that correct for rooftop heating and parking lot heating (where many weather stations are found).
Posted by Curt Zingula at 6:59AM CDT 10/22/14
Regarding temperature monitoring, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has a detailed review of temperature questions on its web site in the "Climate Monitoring" section at the NCDC home page. About the issue of whether temperature records show an Urban Heat Island bias, the NCDC FAQ article directly addresses that question. Here is the answer: "We identified which GHCN (Global Historical Climate Network) stations were rural and which were urban. Then we created global temperature time series from the rural only stations and compared that to our full dataset. The result was that the two showed almost identical time series (actually the rural showed a little bit more warming) so there apparently was no lingering urban heat island bias in the adjusted GHCN dataset." More information is at this link: http://tinyurl.com/mkpkf8c
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 9:33AM CDT 10/22/14
What is to be made of the large Antarctica sea ice? It appears to me that arctic ice is moving from one pole to the other, which I believe I read once could be due to nothing more than the earth's axis varying slightly which occurs from time to time. I am definitely NOT a meteorologist, or climatologist, but do try and read about weather. Just curious on thoughts.
Posted by Unknown at 11:00AM CDT 10/22/14
Has anyone checked to see if the companies producing these thermometers has ties with Al Gore?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:29AM CDT 10/31/14
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