by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County
Jim Noel with the National Weather Service was a speaker at Corn/Soybean Day held January 27th in Archbold. Mr Noel works from the Wilmington Ohio Regional Office of NWS which one of the River Forecast Centers. Soil water status, potential rainfall and temperatures are all important in predicting floods and are the same factors important to agriculture.
Recent weather has been dryer and colder than normal for northwest Ohio. Precipitation for November through January has been 60-75% of normal. That coupled with a dry fall has given the area an ‘Abnormally Dry’ rating in the US Drought Monitor report. From a temperature standpoint after 11 months of warmer than normal temperatures December was much below our normal temperatures. Particularly the below normal precipitation is a concern for the 2011 growing season.
Jim reminded the audience of global factors that played a role in Ohio’s weather. The much discussed LaNina/ElNino is just one factor. For us LaNina which is what we are experiencing leads to normal precipitation which is close to what we have experienced.
For Ohio the other force that influences weather patterns which is less discussed is the Northern Atlantic Oscillation or NAO. The NAO is often a counter balance to influences from LaNina/ENino. NAO can be positive or negative with a negative NAO means colder and snowier while a positive NAO means warmer wetter as we look at Ohio weather. The NAO has become negative in the past couple months and was strongly negative in December. The NAO is a long term pattern with the 1950’s to 1970’s being a negative NAO and was snowier. 1980’s to 2000 being positive and was warmer. If the current NAO stays negative it may mean snow.
Currently a LaNina and negative NAO is leading to predictions of colder than normal temperature for February through April. From a precipitation standpoint the period is expected to be wetter than normal.
The long range forecast for March through May is temperatures of colder to warmer through the period. Precipitation is expected to be wetter than normal in the early spring turing normal to dryer than normal in late spring.
The June through August model expects temperatures of warmer than normal in the summer with a dryer than normal summer. The September to October prediction is temperature normal to warmer than normal and rainfall normal to below normal.
We hope that Jim’s forecast of wetter than normal holds true to build ground water especially if the forecast of a dryer summer happens.
Links to many of the resources that Jim mentions in his presentation have been added to the weather page of Ohio State University Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team webpage.