La Nina Forecasted to Continue with Drought Expansion Likely According to CPC
May 2, 2022
Source: University of Nebraska
By: Al Dutcher, Associate Nebraska State Climatologist
La Nina conditions are still persistent across the Equatorial Pacific and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has placed the odds of this event continuing through this upcoming summer (June–August) at 59% and a 50-55% chance that these conditions will persist through this fall (September–October). A look at the most current Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies (Figure 1) indicates that a colder than normal temperatures continue to persist from Peru westward to just east of Papua New Guinea.
Figure 1. Sea surface temperature anomalies. (Source: NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations)
A pulse of warmer than normal water beneath the central Equatorial Pacific worked its way to the surface in early March and brought above normal SST’s into the eastern Pacific north of the Equator. This pulse of warm water has been mitigated over the past three weeks by another anomalous cold pool working toward the surface. An animation of this trend can be found in Figure 2 and it indicates that another warm pool is building eastward under the central Equatorial Pacific.
CPC’s forecast favoring continuing La Nina conditions is based upon their in-house climate model that is colder than the consensus of global dynamical and statistical models. The consensus models point toward La Nina conditions ending as the summer season begins (Figure 3). In fact, two of the three coldest models are products from NASA and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). This is important in regard to the CPC seasonal outlooks because their greatest accuracy occurs when La Nina or El Nino events are ongoing.
Figure 3. Consolidated model forecasts for La Nina conditions. (Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center)
The most recent seasonal drought forecast (Figure 4) favors the expansion of drought conditions from the central High Plains into eastern Kansas, northwest Missouri, Iowa, eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Since this most current outlook is directly tied to CPC’s three-month precipitation outlook, it should be no surprise that CPC favors above normal temperatures (Figure 5) and below normal moisture (Figure 6) for most of the central and southern High Plains region (Nebraska southward through Texas).
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