Canadian Drought Monitor Shows Prairie Drought Intensifies
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Canadian Drought Monitor points to above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation in September that has led to intensifying drought on the prairies. Temperatures reported for western Saskatchewan and much of Alberta averaged as high as 2-4 C above normal while a large area saw precipitation fall below 40% of normal for the month. The report points to areas of the prairies facing more than 18 consecutive months of drought conditions.
As a result, the percentage of the prairie agricultural land facing some degree of deficit (D0 or Abnormally Dry to D3 Extreme Drought) has risen for a third month to 73% as of September 30, after dipping to a 2022 low of 39% in June. The prairie map shows the return of D3 or Extreme Drought in southwest Saskatchewan. This is the first time that D3 drought has been reported since a small area of southern Alberta was rated D3 in June, while the largest area of Extreme Drought has been shown since May. At the same time, the province of Alberta faced the largest deterioration over the month, with the percentage of the province's agricultural land facing some degree of deficit increasing from 70% to 92%.
While the percentage of prairie agricultural land affected by drought is reported lower than where it was reported for the same month in 2021 (73% versus 99%), AAFC's Percent of Normal Soil Moisture map as of Oct. 10 shows a significant area of western Saskatchewan and central/northern Alberta reporting less than 40% of normal soil moisture, a significantly larger area than reported in the same week of 2021.
For an interesting perspective of the U.S. situation, see today's blog titled What does it Take to Get Out of Drought?, written by DTN Meteorologist John Barnick https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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