Growing Concern: Expansive Dry Pattern Developing in Europe

U.S. Winter 2021-22 and February 2022 Temperature/Precipitation Review
03/08/2022, 4:42 pm EST
March 2022 Monthly ENSO Outlook Supports Drought Risk Great Plains, East China, Bolivia to Uruguay.
03/09/2022, 5:04 pm EST
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Fig. 1: An ENSO forecast using multivariate ENSO index.

ENSO discussion: Multivariate ENSO index (MEI) is a reaction of the atmosphere to the SSTA pattern in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Since June 2020 MEI and up until now a La Nina climate is present (Fig. 1). The analog is based on modern-day lengthy La Nina episodes and indicates the most likely scenario ahead is weakening La Nina during northern hemisphere spring followed by neutral ENSO the remainder of the year with slight chance of El Nino into early 2023.

Fig. 2: The DEC/JAN/FEB 2021-22 state-by-state precipitation rankings for the U.S. identifying the dryness in the central Great Plains.

U.S. winter precipitation discussion: In Kansas and Nebraska, the winter precipitation regime was in the top-5 driest in the 128-year period of record (Fig. 2). Texas observed a top-10 dry climate during winter 2021-22. 15-day forecasts reveal 1 inch of precipitation across Kansas and less amount in Kansas and Texas. The dryness in this sector is expected to intensify into the U.S. 2022 warm season.

Fig. 3-4: The 15-day GFS ENS percent of normal precipitation forecast across Europe/Western Russia plus the week 3-4 upper air forecast.

Developing Europe/Western Russia dryness: Interestingly, drought intact over Portugal and Spain receives beneficial rainfall over the next 2 weeks (Fig. 3). However, everywhere else in Europe is dry including most crop areas. The dryness extends to Russia. The week 3-4 outlook by ECMWF projects a warm/dry ridge over the East Europe/West Russia border (Fig. 4). The dryness is becoming a crop issue heading toward mid-spring.

A changing rainfall pattern in South America: Late last year, Climate Impact Company climate forecasts indicated dryness may regenerate in East Brazil during the late warm season, an area previously struck by heavy rains. The drier East Brazil pattern appears to be developing. The 15-day outlook by most models indicates the bulk of the wet weather shifts to where it’s needed most – the East-central South America drought zone (Fig. 5). About 50-60% of the drought area receives beneficial rain in the 15-day outlook.

Fig. 5: The 15-day ECM ENS rainfall anomaly forecast across Argentina to Brazil.