La Nina worsening western drought

Dec 11, 2020  | 2 min  | Ep4617

Less energy was needed to heat homes last month as the entire planet just recorded its hottest November.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported the mark even as a La Nina event is affecting weather across the globe. This is the opposite of traditional temperature records associated with La Nina. Normally, hotter temperatures are associated with an El Nino event. 

Peter Tubbs reports on the weather system’s impact on North America.

The specter of drought is haunting much of the United States as 2020 draws to a close.
Forty-five percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing some degree of drought, and meteorologists expect much of the country could see their conditions worsen in early 2021.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center sees a La Nina as well established, increasing the probability the winter of 2020 will be cooler and wetter in the North and warmer and dryer in the South. The combination would set up the western half of the U.S. for severe drought conditions, adding to production challenges in an already difficult economic climate for agriculture in the region.
David Miskus, Meteorologist, Climate Prediction Center: “So unfortunately that bodes badly for the Southwestern United States and we'll probably expand or develop drought across the Southern tier of States, even though it's been pretty wet in the Southeast with all the tropical systems that have made landfall, it looks like the rest of the winter will become dry.”
The winter wheat crop faces immediate challenges. Limited subsoil moisture combined with a lack of snow cover may limit yield potential in the spring.
Western reservoirs which received some replenishment during the relatively wet years of 2017 and 2018 may be headed downward as precipitation goes elsewhere.
David Miskus, Meteorologist, Climate Prediction Center: “The last couple of months, this is supposed to be the rainy season for the far West and really only the extreme Pacific Northwest has gotten any kind of decent precipitation so far this winter.”
The current La Nina formed in September, and typically influences weather patterns for five to nine months, although some La Ninas have endured for years.
The Climate Forecasting Center issues its next three month outlook on December 17.
For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.
Grinnell Mutual Insurance