Fig. 1-3: U.S. Drought Monitor for early May in 2022 and 2012 and during the August 2012 drought.
Discussion: The 1970’s observed a long duration (5-6 years) La Nina pattern so we’re dismissing a 1975 analog. However, 1954-56, 1998-2000 and 2010-12 are each similar to the 2020-22 ENSO pattern (and [also] close to the PDO/AMO regime). The issue here is a 3rd consecutive summer with a La Nina climate. La Nina regimes carry a dry risk which becomes accumulative with duration. This is particularly true when La Nina is combined with the warmer mid-latitude oceans of the past 1-2 decades. The warmer mid-latitude oceans are correlated to strong upper-level high-pressure ridging. So…as of May 10th, 61.2% of the U.S. is encountering dry-to-drought conditions with hostile D3-D4 drought observed over a whopping 20.0% of the nation (according to NOAA). The last severe drought across much of the U.S. occurred in summer 2012. By comparison on May 8, 2012, NOAA identified 56.1% of the U.S. in a dry-to-drought condition with only 6.8% in hostile D3-D4 drought.