Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Thursday 02/26/15

Arctic Chill Covers Prairies

If you are looking for signs of spring across Western Canada you will be hard pressed to find much during the first half of March as it appears now. The weather pattern is likely to undergo some changes across North America that will bring some changes to some areas but Western Canada is not one of those places.

For about a month we have seen a strong ridge near the West Coast of Canada extend southward into the western U.S. along with a very deep eastern Canada and U.S. trough. During the next week, most all indications point to a westward shift of the pattern along with de-amplification of the ridge/trough pattern.

The western North America ridge is likely to shift into the eastern Pacific while a weakened trough shifts to the west-central part of Canada and down into the interior West of the U.S. This new pattern brings changes to the western U.S. in the form of much colder weather and increased winter weather. The eastern U.S. will see temperatures moderate from well-below normal to near-to-below normal, but still with more winter weather threats ahead.

For Western Canada, the only change appears to be an end to the occasional spike of warming Chinook winds across Alberta. Instead of the big see-saw temperature patterns of the past few weeks, a more sustained cold pattern should be seen across Alberta while Saskatchewan and Manitoba go on with business as usual with below-normal temperatures much of the time well into March.

Earlier this week, we saw record low temperatures visit parts of Saskatchewan where readings at Prince Albert fell to minus 41.1C (minus 42 Fahrenheit). Just a day later, afternoon temperatures rocketed to 1.7 Celsius (35 Fahrenheit), a 42.9 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) degree rise in just 36 hours! Similar roller coaster temperature traces were observed across Alberta. With the westward shift to the mean upper trough position during the next week we should see the cold weather become better entrenched across far Western Canada with even British Columbia turning quite cold.

Snow prospects continue to look limited with only a few flurries here and there once in a while. A brief period of light snow may visit the region Monday as a new surge of arctic cold slides southward out of northwest Canada.

The March outlook continues to show a greater likelihood of colder-than-normal weather across Western Canada than milder-than-normal readings. Precipitation is expected to average a little above normal, but March is still not a big precipitation producer compared to the summer months. There is potential that we see a slight nudge back to the east with the mean upper level trough back to the eastern half of Canada in a couple of weeks. This would bring a return of the roller coaster temperature pattern to the west while cold would stay more locked in across the east.

During the fall there was talk of El Nino having some impact on our winter weather pattern which would have favored mild, dry weather. As we now know, the El Nino conditions have never materialized for Western Canada this winter, other than maybe having some input with respect to the mild weather of December. Since then, the El Nino has been a no show.

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

(ES)

Posted at 9:37AM CST 02/26/15 by Doug Webster
 

Friday 02/20/15

NOAA Comment On Tepid El Nino

An almost snow-free Yosemite National Park in California this winter shows how El Nino failed to completely develop and bring needed moisture to the Far West. (Courtesy National Park Service)

The following comment is taken from a blog entry on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center's Climate.gov web site. It is written by Michelle L'Heureux, a meteorologist at CPC, and has some interesting detail on how forecasters were challenged by the constant head-fakes that the Pacific Ocean threw out in the past 12 months regarding El Nino. The full article is at this link: http://tinyurl.com/…

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Throughout 2014, the range of possible (Pacific temperature) outcomes included both El Nino and no El Nino at all (or ENSO-neutral). Notably, very few models ever suggested a major El Nino event. We obtain the range, or spread, using many runs from one model (an ensemble) and/or many runs from many different models (multi-model ensemble). Informally, a "strong El Nino" occurs when the ONI (Oceanic Nino Index) is greater than or equal to 1.5 degrees Celsius (the ONI value for the 1997-98 El Nino was plus 2.4 deg C at its peak) and many of the model indications did not exceed this threshold. In contrast, most of the year, the average forecast of the models predicted a "weak El Nino" (ONI at least 0.5 deg C but less than 1 deg C).

The observations were generally within the "envelope" of what all of these models were predicting. In multi-model and ensemble prediction, one measure of success is whether observed reality occurs within this model envelope. While ideally you might prefer to be given just one answer or a very small range of possible outcomes for the future, this is of no use if what occurs is always outside of the prediction. The ensemble approach tries to incorporate the inherit uncertainty of the atmosphere-ocean system and also strives to provide reliable betting odds over time.

2014...Most folks on our team consider this among the trickiest forecasts we have ever been a part of. Such a borderline El Nino is a challenge and one we are still trying to communicate. But, on the up side, we hope you can see that this isn't an easy business to be in and there are still important questions we still need to work on. Leading us to…

El Nino prediction is not "solved." It wasn't at the beginning of 2014 and it isn't now. There are still big challenges we face and it will take a lot of time and effort to analyze the data to better understand ENSO and informed by that new knowledge, predict it with greater accuracy. And it is not just of consequence for seasonal prediction--many of the long-term projections of local and regional climate change critically depend on better understanding and modeling of ENSO and its.

At the beginning of 2014, the possibility of a major El Nino was just that: one among many possible outcomes. In other words, while forecasters couldn't rule out an event of that size early on, a strong El Nino was never the most likely outcome and, furthermore, there was always the chance of no El Nino at all. ENSO prediction comes with a large range of outcomes, and forecasters try to express this uncertainty with our probabilities (what is the percent chance of El Nino?) and more qualitatively in our regular monthly discussions.

(ES)

Posted at 1:44PM CST 02/20/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (3)
Just what I thought; you really don't have a clue.
Posted by GLENN TROYER at 10:51AM CST 02/21/15
These same clowns what us to believe everything they say about GW and climate change!! Whatever....
Posted by bbob at 12:54PM CST 02/21/15
The weather is a funny beast. Just when you think you understand it,she turns and bites you some place else. I have often thought that unusually high rainfall in the west was a good indicator of a dry Midwest, but what now if the west coast is dryer than normal. What do you think of the northern jet stream in relationship to another repeat, or similar, weather this year? Should the northern corn belt be thinking of shorter season corn?
Posted by JONATHAN HOOK at 3:56AM CST 02/23/15
 

Thursday 02/19/15

Arctic Air Covers All but the Far West in Canada

The upper air pattern across North America has remained nearly unchanged since late January with a dominant trough across the eastern half of the continent held in place by anchoring ridges near the west coast of North America and a second strong ridge through the north-central Atlantic. Unlike last year, when we saw high latitude blocking produce the cold, this year the culprit is mid latitude blocking.

The only changes we see over time are periods when the trough de-amplifies while at other times it becomes highly amplified. This can almost be compared to a person inhaling and exhaling. During times of high amplification, arctic air is delivered southward to great distances. Typically, at the same time on the east side of the trough, a major storm ramps up and brings heavy snows, as New Englanders can attest.

The Canadian Prairies have been on the receiving end of mostly the cold air and not so much of any snow of significance during the past month. The trough has been positioned so that arctic air has been very dominant across Saskatchewan and Manitoba and even parts of northeast Alberta.

For southwest Alberta we have seen some much milder weather at times as the West Coast ridge has allowed some Pacific air to ride across the mountains bringing readings as high as 15 Celsius in a few spots. There are also some parts of Alberta that have seen temperatures go up and down like a yo-yo during this period as arctic air and Pacific air get into a shoving match.

We see little change to this pattern for rest of February for the Prairies. Below- and at times well-below normal temperatures will persist for the eastern Prairies while Alberta sees readings highly variable at times. Snow threats still look mostly minor in nature but a few spots will continue to see a little snow every few days. Upslope snowfall should not be a long lasting product of this type of pattern.

With March just around the corner, our early take is that some change to the pattern is probably going to occur across North America beginning during the first week of March. The anchoring ridge near the West Coast is forecast to shift west for at least a little while and allow for increasing west or southwest flow aloft into Western Canada. The northern stream may remain in a fashion so that cold weather will only ease some across the central and eastern Prairies. This leads to the threat that an increase in precipitation in this new pattern could bring snow to the region for March along with temperatures still on the lower side of normal, but not so severe for eastern areas.

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

(ES)

Posted at 2:11PM CST 02/19/15 by Doug Webster
 
Arctic Air Covers All But The Far West

The upper air pattern across North America has remained nearly unchanged since late January with a dominant trough across the eastern half of the continent held in place by anchoring ridges near the west coast of North America and a second strong ridge through the north-central Atlantic. Unlike last year when we saw high latitude blocking produce the cold, this year the culprit is mid latitude blocking.

The only changes we are seeing over time are periods when the trough de-amplifies while at other times it becomes highly amplified. This is can almost be compared to a person inhaling and exhaling. During times of high amplification arctic air is delivered southward to great distances and typically at the same time on the east side of the trough a major storm ramps up bringing heavy snows such as New Englanders will attest to.

The Canadian Prairies have been on the receiving end of mostly the cold air and not so much of any snow of significance during the past month. The trough has been positioned so that arctic air has been very dominant across Saskatchewan and Manitoba and even parts of northeast Alberta.

For southwest Alberta we have seen some much milder temperatures at times as the west coast ridge has allowed some Pacific air to ride across the mountains bringing readings as high as 15C in a few spots. There are also some parts of Alberta that have seen temperatures go up and down like a yo-yo during this period as arctic air and Pacific air get into a pushing and shoving match.

We see little change to this pattern for the remainder of February for the Prairies. Below and at times well below normal temperatures will persist for the eastern Prairies while Alberta sees readings highly variable at times. Snow threats still look mostly minor in nature but a few spots will continue to see a little snow every few days. Upslope snowfall should not be a long lasting product of this type of pattern.

With March just around the corner our early take is that some change to the pattern is probably going to occur across North America beginning during the first week of March. The anchoring ridge near the West Coast is forecast to shift west for at least a little while and allow for increasing west or southwest flow aloft into western Canada. The northern stream may remain in a fashion so that cold temperatures will only ease some across the central and eastern Prairies leading to the threat that an increase in precipitation in this new pattern could bring snows to the region for March along with temperatures still on the cold side of normal, but not so severe for eastern areas.

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

(ES)

Posted at 11:29AM CST 02/19/15 by Doug Webster
 

Tuesday 02/17/15

Colorado Snowpack Forecast

The following article, from the Colorado Natural Resources Conservation Service (a USDA division), has a detailed rundown of the impact of very dry conditions in January on the available snow-pack water content. This, of course, makes a difference in irrigation potential for the upcoming growing season.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Snowpack Percentages Decline throughout Abnormally Dry January

Looking back at Colorado’s mountain snowpack over the course of January, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find promising water supply outlooks for spring and summer 2015. At the very end of December a dry spell began that persisted through the entire month of January, with the only relief being a few brief periods of active weather. While actual observed snowpack values in no way decreased over the course of January 2015, the snowpack percents of normal in every basin across the state did decline, in some cases drastically. The North Platte and combined Yampa/White River basins experienced deficits in snowfall which decreased snowpack percents of normal 23 and 26 percentage points respectively over the course of January. The combined Yampa/White watersheds saw the lowest snow accumulation in the calculated period of record back to 1986. According to statewide SNOTEL data, 1986 was the only drier January going back 29 years. January 1992 saw the same snow accumulation totals as this January with an increase of only 1.4 inches of snow water equivalent. “With nearly one third of the winter remaining, Colorado is running short of time to catch up.” commented Brian Domonkos, Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor. He went on to mention, “Statewide snowfall would need to amount to 124 percent of normal from now until mid-April to achieve normal snowpack peak levels.”

There are a few bright spots around the state. Watersheds that still retain an above normal snowpack include the Blue River at 122 percent as well as a few other sub-watersheds within the Colorado and South Platte River basins. Of the major basins, the South Platte, Colorado, and Arkansas all remain near normal at 97 percent, 95 percent and 94 percent respectively.

January is an important month for mountain precipitation over the course of the average year. The month of April typically provides the most mountain precipitation at 3.6 inches, followed by March at 3.4 inches, and January coming in the third highest at 3.2 inches. This January provided only 1.4 inches of mountain precipitation, 45 percent of the average (55 percent below average). The South Platte saw the greatest precipitation totals compared to normal at 62 percent of average.

In terms of normal, statewide reservoir storage is only slightly below where it was last month, down one percentage point to 104 percent of average. The South Platte, combined Yampa, White & North Platte and Colorado River basins are riding higher than normal on carry over storage from the 2014 water year at 119 percent, 117 percent, and 116 percent of average respectively.

As always spring and summer outlooks for streamflow volumes vary greatly across the state, but the bulk are below normal between 60 percent and 85 percent of average.

-30-

Posted at 9:34AM CST 02/17/15 by Bryce Anderson
 

Thursday 02/12/15

Cold Takes the Upper Hand for the Prairies

Very cold weather continues to be the rule for most of the Prairies but some mild Pacific air has made inroads into southern Alberta and even southwest Saskatchewan at times during the past several days. Some of these areas have seen the weather turn mild for a few hours followed by a dump back to very cold levels as the wavering arctic boundary shifts back westward.

The scene will likely continue to be played out across the western Prairies during the coming days and probably through the remainder of the month while the eastern half of the Prairies are looking more likely to stay locked in a cold or very cold weather pattern.

A slight nudge to the west of the persistent trough across eastern Canada during the next week will allow for some westward expansion of arctic air, but this is probably not a permanent change as most models indicate that enough ridge remains near Canada's West Coast to allow for brief interruptions in the cold for parts of Alberta and maybe southwest Saskatchewan.

These areas of Western Canada are known for dramatic temperature changes over short periods of time and the time of year that these changes are more likely is during the late winter and early to mid-Spring. Chinook winds bringing mild weather from the west can quickly weaken allowing arctic air to surge back up against the Rockies and send temperatures plummeting by 30 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few hours.

The overall weather pattern across North America remains in a rut. A strong upper ridge across the north-central Atlantic is blocking any eastward translation of the eastern North America trough, thus keeping a second ridge in place near the west coast of North America. Last year we saw unending high latitude blocking which create cold air across North America. This winter it is mid-latitude blocking creating nearly the same pattern, but translated eastward about 1000 miles from last year.

The pattern we have gotten into is a little more productive in the snow department across Western Canada and we may see a few more clippers ride through the region during the coming week depositing light amounts for the most part. Over time the several light snow events do start to add up on the ground.

Early indications for March show the theme of February continuing, but with maybe some weakening of the trough across the eastern half of Canada. Some weakening of the trough might allow Chinook winds to become a little more widespread across at least the western Prairies at times.

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

(ES)

Posted at 10:52AM CST 02/12/15 by Doug Webster
Comments (4)
Global warming makes everyone cold right.
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 7:22PM CST 02/13/15
Frank, you are about to hear something about a dog dish for about the 50th time. The next time that cliché is funny will be the first time.
Posted by Brandon Butler at 11:55AM CST 02/14/15
Well you can't get any more local then the dogs dish and thats all that counts right Brandon, the weather that is only in your small world???? It surely isn't funny, its really sad that humans are so short sighted, that many lack the creativity, the ingenuity to work on systems that create a more friendly world. Its sad that the violence in the mideast is a result of our greed and instance that we continue to need its oil and it is sad that you along with many others here don't feel its worth the extra bit of sacrifice to make the change. Its sad that you beleive that science is a system not worth believing and even if the science was wrong there are many other reasons to make the change and for that reason "ice in the dog dish" never was and never will be funny because there is more to our world then what we personally experience.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:03PM CST 02/14/15
Don't put words in my mouth, Jay. You'd be surprised what I think is correct for solutions going forward. That being said, I know one thing for certain. YOUR attitude sucks, and because of it, you are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. You WORSHIP people that are ignorant at best, criminal at worst. I don't know if you are just naïve, or you have that much hate built up. But I'm sick of your type, that's for dang sure. Sure, I've had a bit of fun with you on here, but I bet you wouldn't be such an internet tough guy wanting to put words in my mouth if we were standing face to face.
Posted by Brandon Butler at 4:44PM CST 02/16/15
 

Wednesday 02/11/15

Farm Machinery Show Thoughts

Hello from Louisville, Kentucky where the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show will kick off another year. This event is expected to draw another round of big crowds, covering the Kentucky Expo Center. DTN and The Progressive Farmer have a big presence here: we have two DTN product and information booths complete with big touch-screen flat screens; we have champion corn grower forums scheduled; and Darin Newsom and I will have discussions on the market and weather outlooks today, Thursday and Friday.

I'm looking forward to what the show, its exhibitors, and attendees can tell us about the mood of agriculture ahead of the 2015 growing season. The location of the show means that we will get folks here from a variety of crop regions, so that geography is very interesting. And, what will producers be thinking--particularly with grain prices not nearly as high as we've had the past few years? Indications will be presented both in the sheer number of people who attend the show and our programs, along with the questions that they have. This is my eighth Farm Machinery Show, and I anticipate more anxiety around the balance-sheet issue than I've experienced before.

From a weather standpoint, it is very hard to come up with a problem for crops right now. With a weak El Nino in the Pacific Ocean heading toward neutral during the growing season, the setup at this point looks promising for crops. Drought is not the threat that we've had in some recent years (outside of California). Weak El Nino-to-Neutral progressions suggest favorable conditions throughout the season. International issues other than some area dryness in Brazil are also quite limited. Of course, that framework may just add to the concern about the year ahead from an economic angle.

Each growing season has its own story. The 2015 saga will start here.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 5:56AM CST 02/11/15 by Bryce Anderson
 

Monday 02/09/15

Climate Change Reducing Soybean Yields

The following article, written by Leslie Reed of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, summarizes some keynote research in the climate change-and-agriculture arena--a study which has put a dollar tag on the net loss to soybean growers because of the steadily-warming climate.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Climate change cost American soybean farmers an estimated $11 billion in unrealized potential yield in the past two decades, a newly published study says.

The study’s researchers included UNL's James Specht, emeritus professor of agronomy and horticulture. Specht assisted lead researchers Spyridon Mourtzinis and Shawn Conley of the University of Wisconsin in developing and reviewing the study.

U.S. farmers have increased soybean yields in the past 20 years by about a third of a bushel per acre per year, Specht said. Those gains, of about 0.8 percent a year, resulted from adoption of higher-yielding soybean varieties and improved farming methods.

But the gains would have been 30 percent higher if it weren’t for the higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns resulting from climate change, the author-researchers concluded in their paper, which was published in Nature Plants. That works out to $11 billion in lost opportunity cost, they said.

“We’re doing OK, but we could have done a heck of a lot better without climate change,” Specht said.

The United States experienced a warming trend during the May-September growing season during the study period of 1994 to 2003. Rainfall patterns have changed as well, increasing in spring and fall but declining in June, July and August.

Mourtzinis and Conley compared soybean yields in 12 soybean-producing states to month-by-month temperature and rainfall changes. They found soybean yields declined by about 4.3 percent for every degree Fahrenheit rise in average growing season temperatures.

They also found that changing rainfall patterns cut into soybean yields. They dropped when May, July and September were wetter than normal. They also dropped if June and August were drier.

The researchers appear to be the first to look at climate change’s state-by-state impact on agriculture during each month of the growing season. Previous studies have calculated global temperature changes and yield impacts by country.

“We were able to leverage decades of measured — not estimated — yield data from across the country, to account for agronomic and genetic yield advances and to isolate the impact of climate change on soybean yield and yield gain,” Conley said.

Successfully adapting to climate change depends upon where and when the crop is grown, Specht and the other researchers said. They found that some states saw improved soybean yields as a result of climate change, though not enough to offset the reduced yields seen in bigger producing states.

Specht said soybean production has recently increased in northern states and Canada because of warmer temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.

“This shift is a reflection of the impact of global warming,” he said. “Due to warmer springs and falls that allow for longer growing seasons in the Dakotas and southern Canada, soybeans now are being grown in places where in the past they could not be grown.”

The study’s authors estimated, for example, that Minnesota farmers saw an economic gain of about $1.7 billion over the past 20 years because of increased soybean yields resulting from climate change. However, Missouri farmers experienced smaller yields, reflecting a $5 billion opportunity cost.

“Our data highlight the importance of developing location-specific adaptation strategies for climate change based on early-, mid- and late-growing season climate trends,” the researchers concluded.

States studied were North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The study was limited to non-irrigated soybean yields. Though Specht assisted with the study, Nebraska data was not included because a significant proportion of Nebraska’s crop is irrigated and the non-irrigated production data was not readily available.

You may also read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/…

(ES/SK/AG)

Posted at 10:54AM CST 02/09/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (11)
Thanks for your efforts to inform us on the effects of climate change. I just finished reading an article on the "adjusting" of raw temperature data. Can you shed some light on this practice, if, in fact it's true? I'm not in denial, just confused with all the conflicting info.
Posted by TOM DRAPER at 8:23PM CST 02/09/15
Over the course of time, temperature data has been reviewed and some minor adjustments have been made due to location of instruments or methodology. However, these reviews have not altered the trends that have been going on. NOAA has a full explanation of temperature data at this link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/temperature-monitoring.php
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 6:59AM CST 02/10/15
Please explain the yields in a Southern state, Louisana, top yields in the nation in 2014. No doubt it is warmer in the Southern states than in the northern tier.
Posted by ctnprod07 at 9:25AM CST 02/10/15
Oh, how precious. The government doing the explaining of the "slight" adjustments. They don't have a vested interest in this big lie, noooooo..... Fox guarding the hen house come to mind anyone? What a crock. And what a bunch of lockstep water carriers. Goebbels would be proud.
Posted by Brandon Butler at 12:13PM CST 02/10/15
Ice on my dog dish again this morning,,, proof global warming is a hoax!!! Nice trying Bryce but as long as I have proof you can't fool and Sean Hannity knows as well!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 4:23PM CST 02/10/15
Change is opportunity .
Posted by JOHN JANSSEN at 5:40PM CST 02/10/15
The mid 90's was the time period that RR beans were introduced and rapidly adapted. Farmers accepted a yield drag for weed control. Yield and defensive traits were back burner to RR weed control. There you have it Bruce. The truth doesn't advance the agenda, so maybe you should delete it.
Posted by bbob at 10:35PM CST 02/10/15
In an interview in investors business daily, the United Nations executive dealing with climate change named Christiana Figueres, said the main goal of environmental activism is to bring an end to capitalism. I'm not looking for an argument here, but how can you come to an informed opinion in the face of all this "information".
Posted by TOM DRAPER at 4:15PM CST 02/11/15
oil and other fossil fuels are what allows the worlds human population to grow like it has. in 1900 the population was 1 billion souls, now we are at 7 billion and are told that without fossil fuels we would only be at 1 billion. Simple biology states that when an organism has an unlimited food source it multiplies to the point where the food source is consumed then drops back to the pre-food boom, its the "bell curve" and applies to all organisms. One such organism is yeast like in the production of ethanol. The yeast devours the sugar giving off CO2 and alcohol, eventually the huge population of yeast die in their own waste. Ummmm,,,,,, maybe we don't have a choice here? So whoop it up and lets make the Koch brothers stinking rich so we can have their trickle down,,, we will really impress our descendants with the wealth of corporations!!!! Don't worry,,, oil is unlimited, climate change is a hoax, Bush was the best president ever, there are "no go zones" in France, corporations are people and the future has tons of opportunities with a climate as hot as hell!!!!!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 4:24PM CST 02/11/15
Bruce, The increase in soybean yield may be to climate change. Corn and beans moving north and record yields in the south. Warmer means more evaporation,more water vapor means more precipitation, more CO2 means plants grow better. A win win in my book.
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 4:51PM CST 02/11/15
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11395516/The-fiddling-with-temperature-data-is-the-biggest-science-scandal-ever.html
Posted by Brandon Butler at 8:07AM CST 02/12/15
 

Friday 02/06/15

Dry January In WCB

The following summary of January weather in Iowa gives a good rundown of the kind of dryness we saw to begin the year 2015 in the Western Corn Belt.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

The relatively dry weather pattern that has prevailed in Iowa since mid-October persisted until January 31st when Iowa’s heaviest snow storm in five years arrived. This late month storm began with rain on the morning of the 31st with the rain gradually changing to snow during the afternoon and evening hours. Snow fell statewide before ending during the afternoon and evening of February 1st. Storm totals varied from 2.2 inches near Spirit Lake to 16.0 inches at Le Claire. Greatest amounts fell along and just north of the Interstate 80 corridor from Des Moines to the Quad Cities. A statewide average of 8.3 inches of snow fell across Iowa, the highest storm total since December 23-27, 2009. However, the vast majority of Iowa’s weather stations make their once-daily observations at 7 a.m., prior to the arrival of the storm on the 31st. Thus, most of the precipitation and snowfall from this storm will go into the record books for February.

The month’s greatest precipitation total was 1.53 inches at Burlington with Lowden reporting the most snow with 15.1 inches (both of these locations measure at midnight). However, for the month ending at 7 a.m. January 31, only 0.02 inches of precipitation fell at Hastings and Sidney while New Market recorded only 0.4 inches of snow for the same period. The largest precipitation event occurring entirely within January came on the 5th with widespread snowfall of four to six inches from northwest to east central Iowa. High winds combined with dry powdery snow to result in blizzard warnings being issued for parts of northern Iowa on the night of the 3rd and again on the 8th.

The statewide average snowfall for the month was 6.3 inches. This is 1.4 inches below normal and ranks as the 53rd lowest January total among 128 years of record.

(ES)

Posted at 3:22PM CST 02/06/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
Bryce, We are dry here in southeast Michigan too.It was the first January since 1938 that we had no snow for the month.Our creeks are dry as we did not have much fall precip either.Trappers around here said they had a hard time finding enough water to trap muskats even.I think we are in for another dry spring and maybe even summer.We did get about a foot out of the same storm that they got in Iowa but that was really our first snow of the season.I had only plowed driveway on time until then.Thanks for the weather outlook,So many in the markets don't
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 4:15PM CST 02/06/15
 

Thursday 02/05/15

W. Canada to See Temperature Fluctuations

Cold air has been in place across the Prairies for nearly a week after a few weeks of unseasonable warmth covered the region during mid and late January. Dry weather for most of January was followed by an upswing in snow as January ended and February began.

A stubborn upper air weather pattern across North America shows no signs of changing soon. A trough across eastern North America is supplying most of central and eastern Canada as well as the northeastern U.S. with arctic cold. Some of this cold has settled southwestward into the Prairies during the past several days.

A very mild pattern covers the western half of the U.S. and some of this mild weather continues for British Columbia and is probably going to make some inroads into southern Alberta and southernmost Saskatchewan during the next several days. This pattern will likely bring on a nearly impossible temperature forecast for some areas of the western Prairies. Some areas may see temperatures jump to very mild levels then plummet a few hours later as the Chinook winds weaken.

Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba should remain locked into the cold for the next several days but the bitter cold may ease even through these areas. The temperature fluctuations expected across the west are not at all unusual and are seen nearly each winter, especially as winter trends toward spring.

Spring is not in the cards soon though as the model forecasts indicate some intensification of the upper air patterns across North America during the next 2 weeks featuring episodes of bitter cold for the eastern half of Canada and much milder readings for far western areas.

As you might guess the Prairies will be in the air mass war zone with temperatures probably cold, maybe quite cold for Manitoba while western areas may see periods of very mild temperatures intertwined with a few very cold days as well.

A better chance of some snow is seen with this pattern and the wavering frontal zone across western Canada during the next couple of weeks. Snow cover is most likely to increase for most areas as we see several disturbances move along the wavering arctic boundary and we can look forward to some upslope snow along the front range of the Rockies as well.

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

(ES)

Posted at 11:45AM CST 02/05/15 by Doug Webster
 

Friday 01/30/15

Brazil Rain Update

At the end of January, we continue to see some highly-variable rainfall totals in the heart of Brazil's soybean belt.

Here is the latest summary of rainfall for January in the major soybean provinces of Brazil as compiled by my colleague Joel Burgio. For the season as an entirety, the only real "dry" province is Goias in the east-central portion of the country. But, for January specifically, there have been some notable departures from normal on the low side for not only Goias, but also Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and even south into northern Parana.

A reminder--southern hemisphere crops are effectively turning the corner into the equivalent of the month of August as February approaches. Amounts shown are in inches.

GOIAS

Station Jan Precip Pct Normal

Goiania 2.91 31

Catalao 3.86 32

Province Avg 3.39 32

MATO GROSSO

Diamantino 8.40 87

Cuiaba 6.75 70

Province Avg 7.58 78

MG DO SUL

Campo Grande 6.38 74

Ivinheima 9.74 114

Province Avg 8.06 94

PARANA

Londrina 9.40 115

Campo Moura 11.30 163

Foz do Iguacu .57 10

Irati 7.21 105

Curitiba 3.53 53

Province Avg 5.65 83

SANTA CATARINA

Irai 3.90 71

Campos Novos 13.00 202

Province Avg 8.45 136

RG DO SUL

Sao Luis Gonzaga 12.47 264

Passo Fundo 13.23 239

Bom Jesus 7.85 155

Santa Maria 6.90 140

Encruzilha 13.93 366

Province Avg 10.88 233

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Posted at 2:17PM CST 01/30/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (2)
This report posted today tells us that Brazil is in a drought situation. Why the discrepancy with your analysis? http://www.worthynews.com/top/newscientist-com-article-mg22530063-600-brazil-hit-hard-by-worst-drought-since-1930-html/
Posted by Seth Paulson at 4:19PM CST 02/02/15
It is true that southeastern Brazil is dealing with severe drought. However, that part of the country is not where soybeans are grown. As I noted--the rainfall summaries in this posting are for the major soybean-growing provinces.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:22AM CST 02/03/15
 

Thursday 01/29/15

Arctic Air to Bring Chilly Weather Back to W. Canada

The vacation for winter weather across the Prairies is about to come to a close as arctic air settles southward during the next few days and bring temperatures from the well-above-normal levels of recent days to below normal by this weekend. The reversal in temperature will be significant, but will bring only limited amounts of precipitation.

The reasons behind the turn to much colder weather are due to a weakening of the upper level ridge across Western Canada to allow for the polar jet stream to shift southwestward into west-central Canada from its recent position across central Canada. Though not a huge change for the large-scale weather pattern, it will be a huge change for residents of Western Canada with respect to temperature.

The coldest weather of the winter is currently located across the Northwest Territories with readings as low as minus 54 Fahrenheit (minus 48 Celsius) reported early today. A piece of this air will find its way into the Prairies by this weekend with a second helping of bitter cold due early to middle of next week.

Sometimes when cold air returns to Western Canada we see some decent upslope snow develop against the Rockies. While we do see some snow as the cold weather returns, the amounts look very light. Snow cover has disappeared from some parts of southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan and the rest of the Prairies have quite a bit less than we would typically see for this time of year.

A dry weather pattern has been in place for much of the winter due to the persistent ridge across Western Canada blocking any push of Pacific storms across southwest Canada. This pattern does not appear to be changing as we move into February and while temperatures are likely to turn much loqwe, we do not see much threat for any large-scale snowstorms. Some upslope snow may develop along the front range of the Rockies from time-to-time, but nothing to write home about.

The overall weather pattern we have seen during the past month appears as though it will continue into February with cold air favoring central and eastern Canada more than the west. This implies that our cold weather may only be a temporary change and a turn back to milder weather may occur as we move a week or more into February. This is a tough call as some very cold air will linger through central Canada and just a slight shift to where the polar jet stream and polar vortex is located could keep the cold in place for at least the eastern Prairies.

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

(ES)

Posted at 10:34AM CST 01/29/15 by Doug Webster
 

Monday 01/26/15

Dryness Concern Grows in Southern Plains

California is not the only state where a hit-and-miss version of El Nino this winter season has been a disappointment in terms of minimal rainfall. The southwestern Plains -- despite having some major-league snows a week ago -- have increased drought conditions, and the dry trend may force ranchers to pull cattle off wheat pasture earlier than they'd prefer. (Dare I say "sooner" rather than later)

Almost one-quarter of the state of Oklahoma is now in extreme to exceptional drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A year ago, less than five percent of the state had those categories in place.

Water Year precipitation -- dating back to a start date of October 1, 2014--has been below average. Precipitation totals tracked by my colleague Joel Burgio show the Oklahoma grand total precipitation from October 1 through January 26 at 2.73 inches -- 86 percent of the average 3.27 inches. There have been some very low monthly totals as well. In November, Ponca City and Gage only received four and sixteen percent of normal precipitation. And, so far in January, Ponca City, Enid and Gage are below 50 percent of normal precipitation. And as the graphic accompanying this blog entry shows, much of the western half of the state is now in either Extreme or Exceptional Drought.

Oklahoma State University livestock economist Derrell Peel is getting concerned about how long cattle can remain on wheat pasture. Here is an excerpt from a weekly livestock comment from Monday, January 26:

"Parts of southern Oklahoma and specifically southeastern Oklahoma received rain in the past couple of weeks. Last week also brought rain and snow to parts of western Oklahoma including a band of wet snow along Interstate 40 in west-central Oklahoma that contributed up to an inch of precipitation across several counties. All in all, however, it has been relatively dry this winter in much of the state. As a result, severe drought conditions persist in areas of southwestern and northwestern Oklahoma, including parts of the Oklahoma Panhandle. These severe drought areas have expanded slightly through the winter, but perhaps more disturbing is that marginal drought conditions have redeveloped across much of the state...These redeveloping drought conditions are not so much an immediate threat but do represent a potentially huge threat as spring approaches."

Forecast maps for the end of this week off some moisture for the southern Plains. It's not a drought-breaking amount, though--less than one-half inch. And along those lines, much of Kansas has been dry in January as well, taking in only one-third the normal amount of precipitation so far this month.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 2:51PM CST 01/26/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
Forecasts for late week show from .5-.75 inch precipitation for the southwest Plains including Dodge City, Enid, Guymon and Amarillo. My guess is that the precip would be quite welcome.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 9:08AM CST 01/27/15
 

Friday 01/23/15

Brazil Rain Update

Here is the latest summary of rainfall for January in the major soybean provinces of Brazil as compiled by my colleague Joel Burgio. For the season as an entirety, the only real "dry" province is Goias in the east-central portion of the country. But, for January specifically, there have been some notable departures from normal on the low side for not only Goias, but also Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and even south into northern Parana.

A reminder--the month of January is the Brazil equivalent of July. Amounts shown are in inches.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

GOIAS

Station Jan Precip Pct Normal

Goiania 1.96 28

Catalao 2.45 27

Province Avg 2.21 27

MATO GROSSO

Diamantino 6.82 92

Cuiaba 6.51 88

Province Avg 6.67 90

MG DO SUL

Campo Grande 4.76 72

Ivinheima 6.35 97

Province Avg 5.56 85

PARANA

Londrina 4.79 76

Campo Moura 6.87 129

Foz do Iguacu 4.31 98

Irati 6.00 114

Curitiba 3.24 63

Province Avg 5.11 101

SANTA CATARINA

Irai 3.90 92

Campos Novos 11.42 231

Province Avg 7.66 162

RG DO SUL

Sao Luis Gonzaga 9.32 257

Passo Fundo 12.15 287

Bom Jesus 5.55 143

Santa Maria 4.77 127

Encruzilha 11.33 388

Province Avg 8.62 240

(ES/SK/AG)

Posted at 2:55PM CST 01/23/15 by Bryce Anderson
 

Thursday 01/22/15

Mild, Dry Weather Regime Well-Established in W. Canada

Winter is certainly on vacation across the prime cropland of Western Canada as we move into late January. Temperatures during the first 10 days of the month were mostly below and at times well below normal leading us to believe that we were in for another bitter cold winter like last year.

What a difference more recently: Temperatures during the most recent 10 days have averaged above to at times well above normal and have pretty much wiped out any negative temperature departure that was built up during the first third of the month.

Many areas have seen little precipitation, a theme started during December. The westerly flow of air coming down off the Rocky Mountains is mostly dry with any precipitation light and not widespread. Mid-winter is normally the driest time of year, but since December began we have seen low amounts even by Western Canada standards.

Snow cover lags behind normal for most of the region with only Alberta pretty much on par with what we might expect for mid-winter. Most of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have only a few inches (5 to 20 centimeters) of snow on the ground, while Alberta locations are reporting totals of 6 to 18 inches (15 to 45 cm).

Most of our weather models that forecast out into the middle of February show only minor changes to the pattern that has evolved during the past week or so. A well-established ridge at upper levels across western parts of the U.S. and southwest Canada should keep temperatures at above and even well above normal most of the time.

We cannot rule out that a burst or two of much colder weather reaches the Prairies during the next few weeks since very cold air will be lying in wait across northern and eastern Canada. It would only take a subtle shift in the jet stream pattern to deliver some of this cold air into Western Canada but the overall weather pattern should keep any cold intrusion brief.

A trough in the upper levels will remain across eastern Canada with a polar vortex expected to cycle about through Quebec. The temperature pattern for eastern Canada during the next few weeks looks very cold with arctic air being featured.

Precipitation prospects for the Prairies do not look promising anytime soon. Weak clipper lows will pass mostly to the north of the region and bring little more than a few brief bouts of snow showers. Manitoba might see a little more action as storms track right through the province.

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

(ES)

Posted at 9:50AM CST 01/22/15 by Doug Webster
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