Brazil and U.S. Drought Concerns

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Fig. 1: The ECM ENS 15-day percent of normal rainfall forecast for Brazil.

Discussion: The rainfall regime across the second corn crop region in central to east-southeast Brazil is critical in April into May. The 15-day forecast by ECM ENS offers a dry solution across much of the crop area with only the far southern section wetter than normal. The ECM ENS 30-day verification scores in the medium-range are better than GFS ENS in that the wet bias both models have across Brazil is least wet with the ECM ENS. The drier forecast for Central/East-central Brazil is supported by the idea of a stalling and weakening Madden Julian oscillation approaching the Dateline over the next 1-2 weeks. If the MJO progresses eastward the wetter GFS ENS solution is likely more correct. Forecast confidence is below average. Better skill scores of the ECM ENS favor the drier solution for the next 15 days. Monitoring operational models closely is recommended.

Drought-talk in Texas where the extreme drought condition is expanding. Fears of a 2011-style drought are already well presented to local industry and the public (Fig. 2). The historic drought conditions extend beyond Texas and include much of the West U.S., particularly California. Historic drought persists in Montana and the far northwest Great Plains plus Nebraska. Climate Impact Company projects worsening Southwest/West/West-central drought which expands across the Great Plains during the summer season.

Fig. 2: U.S. soil moisture ranking percentile for April 5, 2022.