Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Monday 03/31/14

Model Uncertainty Re SW Plains

Wheat growers, livestock producers and traders are all paying close attention to what happens in the southwestern Plains region this week. This entire region is assessed at Drought Level Two through Four (Severe to Exceptional) in the latest Drought Monitor. And, with wheat exiting dormancy and going into its final growth and reproductive stages, moisture is definitely needed.

But, rain chances continue to be mostly elusive. And, forecast models cannot even agree with themselves on what's going to happen.

Case in point: Back on Friday March 28, the midday run of the U.S. forecast model brought a cutoff low pressure system into eastern New Mexico effective Thursday, April 3rd. (Cutoff lows are much-desired in the southwestern Plains; these systems, by virtue of being out of the main jet stream flow, tend to drag Gulf of Mexico moisture northwest into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, southeastern Colorado, and southwestern Kansas, and thus increase the likelihood of precipitation development.) The European forecast model, by the way, did not show such a feature.

However, as we look at the forecast model depictions today (Monday March 31), there is a completely different set of features. The U.S. model does NOT have that cutoff low for this Thursday, nor for any time frame during the next ten days. However, the Euro model DOES show this development (cutoff low), but again in the 7-day time frame, for Sunday April 6.

So, you have forecast model switching regarding upper-air features, but the time frame stays the same--out in the 7-day time frame. This disagreement of models with themselves--but always showing a particular feature "out there"--is not a forecast to show high confidence in.

The bottom line is--our view is that the dry southwestern Plains trend is likely to continue, with a forecast change requiring both model agreement and consistent closer-to-time depiction of weather systems.

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(ES)

Posted at 10:21AM CDT 03/31/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (7)
Just for some additional reference--Amarillo, TX has .59 inches precipitation since Jan 1, down 2.08 inches from average. A year ago, Amarillo had received 3.44 inches precipitation. Dodge City, KS year to date has 1.11 inches precip, down 1.74 inches from average. A year ago, the Dodge City precip total year to date was 1.64 inches.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 10:50AM CDT 03/31/14
Thank you for paying attention to our intensifying drought. Chrissy Scotten of the National Weather Bureau of Amarillo reported today on our local radio station that the past 42 months(3.5 years) is the driest in recorded history for our area. Drier than any 42 month period during the Dust Bowl of the 30s or the drought of the 50s. We are thankful for more no-till, but another year of this and we may have rangeland blowing in addition to cropland, no-till or not!
Posted by JANET TREGELLAS at 1:47PM CDT 03/31/14
Which model has a greater % of being accurate? Surely there is a statistician that keeps track of which one is more consistent.
Posted by Mr. Brandy at 2:11PM CDT 03/31/14
Janet--good to hear from you and I appreciate that detail. I knew that this drought was in the same league as the Dust Bowl and the 1950s event but I didn't realize that it had surpassed those droughts to this extent. Thank you for sending that in. I think that the drought is getting more visibility.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 3:13PM CDT 03/31/14
Mr. Brandy--I do not know of any study on the track record of the forecast models. The transition between seasons--especially coming out of winter--is a challenging time for these productions. Our view--and other forecast shops as well--is that in a set pattern like we have seen, unless and until there is a definite change, we will stick with the trend. As I noted in the blog, the fact that a change is always presented at the edge of the forecast time frame, and thus far has not been brought forward, is a feature that makes us suspicious as to the authenticity of that depiction.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 3:17PM CDT 03/31/14
I don't know what to make of our high tech weather forecasting, weather was calling we could get 10'' of snow with big spring blizzard, I don't think we got 1/2 '' of snow. Called school off when sun was shinning. The media anymore reports information without facts, all it does is breeds fear and hype into everything. Another example , those poor family members of the lost 777, having to listen to the medias BS as to what happened to plane and not one shred of proof or evidence as to what happened to it . The media instills fear into markets , peoples lives, its a controlling sector of our lives anymore, which is sad I think.
Posted by GWL 61 at 10:15AM CDT 04/01/14
Hey GWL,you can always turn off Fox News!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 11:52AM CDT 04/02/14
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