Ag Weather Forum

IRI Calls For Weak La Nina

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Not only does La Nina look like a weak event, but its life span may not last past the first quarter of 2017. (IRI graphic)

The prospect for a super-size La Nina during the next year has been notably scaled back over the past couple months. Forecasts began hinting at even a fairly short-lived La Nina back at the beginning of July. That weak trend continues in the most-recent Pacific Ocean equatorial region sea surface temperature (SST) projection run by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) headquartered at Columbia University in New York City.

Here's the description as outlined by the IRI staff on the institute's web site:

"During mid-July 2016 the tropical Pacific SST anomaly was slightly below zero, indicating ENSO-neutral conditions. The key atmospheric variables also indicate neutral ENSO conditions. This includes near-average upper and lower level tropical Pacific winds, as well as mainly near-normal cloudiness and rainfall patterns in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. Most ENSO prediction models indicate neutral ENSO conditions during July, with likely development of La Niña during August or September, lasting through fall and into winter. Most likely strength is weak."

For crop weather, a main consideration of La Nina strength will be its potential impact on weather patterns in southern Brazil and Argentina. There is a strong relationship between La Nina's cool equatorial Pacific waters and drier conditions in those two South America farming regions. Farther down the road, the lack of a powerful La Nina would also indicate less-threatening weather patterns for U.S. crops next year.


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