U.S. Month 1-3 Ahead Outlook: Drought Expansion; West/Central to Northeast heat!

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Drought expansion/intensification. West/Central to Northeast heat!

Executive Summary: The Climate Impact Company month 1-3 ahead outlook valid May to July 2022 is updated. The forecast is based on the influence of soil moisture, dynamic models, La Nina climatology and the previous constructed analog. A warmer than normal MAY/JUN/JUL 2022 is indicted for most of the U.S. The extreme heat risk is across the Southwest states and eastward into the Great Plains and Texas. Great Plains drought expansion is likely Excessive rainfall is likely in the Mid-Atlantic States to the eastern Ohio Valley. A hot spike for the Northeast States during July.

Fig. 1: The Climate Impact Company high impact climate forecast for MAY/JUN/JUL 2022.

High impact climate discussion: The primary concern heading into the warm season is drought expansion. NOAA indicated that dry soil conditions across the U.S. right now are similar to this time of year in 2012 when a major drought followed. A 2012-style drought is not expected in the Midwest States, at least not through July. However, drought which could be severe is aligning across the Great Plains and westward to California. This zone is a likely target for excessive heat during the first half of summer. Some eastward expansion of the drought is indicated for mid-summer. Meanwhile, just the opposite problem may develop in the East Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic region where excessive rainfall is possible. The Northeast U.S. resides beneath a northeast North America upper ridge during mid-summer causing a hot and humid risk for the Northeast U.S.

Climate discussion: As April 2022 arrived, multivariate ENSO index (MEI) strengthened to -1.3 representing a moderate-to-strong La Nina climate pattern. The first month of calendar spring has echoed a La Nina sentiment featuring cooler than normal climate across the northern states to the Appalachian Spine enhanced by snow cover (Fig. 2) while the classic wet Midwest/Mid-south and dry western half of the U.S. (Fig. 3) La Nina climate prevails. Currently, a strong positive La Nina-like southern oscillation index (+SOI) persists and coupled with a re-cooling subsurface of the equatorial East Pacific Ocean the La Nina climate should extend through quarter 2 of 2022 and possibly beyond. A La Nina climate bias is enhanced in the Climate Impact Company May and June forecast and to a lesser extent in July. Other leading climate influences (Fig. 4) on the approaching warm season area persistent cool phase of the Pacific decadal oscillation (-PDO) and redeveloping warm phase of the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (+AMO) which combined have a dry influence on the Midwest and West-central/Southwest States.

Fig. 2-3: The first 30 days of calendar spring U.S. temperature anomalies and percent of normal precipitation.

Fig. 4: The IMME global SSTA forecast for June 2022 and regions of influence on U.S. climate.

Methodology: The Climate Impact Company month 1-3 outlook is based a combination of ENSO climatology, dynamic models, influence of soil moisture on climate and the previous constructed analog.

May 2022: Late meteorological spring is likely much warmer than normal across the Southwest U.S., 4-Corners Region, the southern Great Plains and Texas. In this zone a drought condition is likely to worsen. There is also risk of excessive heat in this zone during May. The anomalous warmth becomes well-established the second half of the month and has a tendency to pulse eastward. The East U.S. is also warmer than normal for the month. Dryness is dominant in May. However, one zone where above normal rainfall is likely is across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley region(s). There is a possibility that the immediate Mid-Atlantic Coast will stay dry. If so, the risk of a warmer than indicated forecast for the coastal Mid-Atlantic is likely.

Fig. 5-6: The Climate Impact Company temperature/precipitation anomaly forecast for May 2022. 

June 2022: The already hot forecast across the Southwest U.S. to the western Great Plains could easily be hotter as drought is intensifying. Most of the U.S. is warmer than normal in June. The Ohio Valley/Mid-Atlantic region trend wetter while the Great plains dryness is shifting slightly eastward.

Fig. 7-8: The Climate Impact Company temperature/precipitation anomaly forecast for June 2022. 

July 2022: Heat risk shifts north and includes the central/northern Rocky Mountains to the Upper Midwest States and eastward into New England. An active wet Southwest Monsoon is expected. The wet risk in the East expands to include Florida. Dry and hot risk extends to the Canadian Prairies.

Fig. 9-10: The Climate Impact Company temperature/precipitation anomaly forecast for July 2022.