Ag Weather Forum

Black Sea Region Sees Damaging Heat, Dryness

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
A largely hot and dry forecast continues to impact crop development in the Black Sea region. (DTN graphics)

Weather conditions for the 2024 growing season have not been kind to many producers in the Black Sea region. After a winter that produced very beneficial weather, spring of 2024 started with soil-moisture-sapping dryness. A period of cold in early May brought frost damage. And the weather has not improved in the month since then. Many areas of eastern Ukraine and southwestern Russia -- some of the most fertile land in the world -- have seen less than 40% of normal precipitation over the last three months and no areas have seen above-normal rainfall over that period, according to data from DTN.

This is the time of year when winter wheat and oilseeds should be filling their seeds and kernels and summer crops like corn and sunflowers should be germinating and growing roots. But without available water, that is a tough task for crops to accomplish. The other factor has been the increase in heat in the region, which has seen temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and in some spots much higher, further increasing stress and the immediate need for rain. The region will be looking to the forecast to find some relief but will be left wanting. Hot and dry conditions will largely continue to be in place over the next seven days and likely longer, though some areas of the region will have more of an improved forecast.

A front that is moving through eastern Europe is settling into Belarus and northwestern Ukraine and is forecast to meander about that area through next week. That promotes cooler temperatures and periods of rain that should be a benefit to crops in that area. Model forecasts suggest areas of 10 to 30 millimeters (about 0.4-1.2 inches) of rain with pockets of heavier amounts in that area. However, to the south and east, which covers areas that have been very dry all spring and extends into southeastern Europe as well, those rainfall amounts are less than 10 millimeters with many areas seeing no rain at all. To go along with the lack of rain, temperatures will be increasing even further. Though not consistent throughout the region over the next week, daytime highs will approach the 40-degree Celsius (104-degree Fahrenheit) mark and be consistently over 35-degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) when cloud cover or a paltry shower does not cause a disruption. The continued heat and overall dryness are a major concern in the immediate term for winter grains and oilseeds that will race toward maturity, having gone through a mess of adverse weather conditions this spring and early summer. But it will also be important for the summer crops, and corn in particular, which does not do well in hot and dry conditions early in its growth cycle.

There is some potential for beneficial weather to come through at least portions of the region. With the storm track currently forecast to be just to the north, a slight shift southward would bring that front and occasional systems more into the region. That would also bring down temperatures and keep the lid on temperatures over 35 C. However, the opposite could be just as likely, with the systems favored a little farther north, bringing even less chance for precipitation and an increased chance of higher temperatures across more of the region. Though many areas of the world are having weather issues currently, the Black Sea region, and the extension of the same conditions into southeastern Europe, should take center stage for at least the next month.

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