Ag Meteorologist Explains Wild, Mild Winter

The 2012 winter has been very unusual. Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson explains some of the reasons for the mild winter…

“The arctic oscillation feature, it’s a pressure comparison between say, the Azores Islands area just off the coast of Africa and extreme southern Europe, comparison between that part of the world and then the barometer reading in Iceland; that relationship has been the complete opposite this winter of what we’ve seen in the past couple of winters.”
 

Anderson says the southern part of the North Atlantic area has experienced a higher barometer reading than normal, which has led to a more progressive jet stream track across the far northern areas…

“The polar jet has not been pushed south into a track that takes it across the north and central states, like we’ve seen the past couple of years. and that’s made a big, big difference, it’s kept basically the upper Midwest high and dry, it’s allowed for milder temperatures and we’ve felt that, but it’s also meant that the round of precipitation has not been near as heavy as we saw the last couple of winters.”
 

It’s been hard to find a so-called normal winter across the country – Anderson says – except for parts of New England and Northeastern Colorado. He says everywhere else has experienced strange behavior regarding the atmosphere…

“The majority of the US has had above normal temperatures, the fourth warmest January ever, on record, and the warmest we’ve had since 2006.”
 

Even with late winter moisture – Anderson doesn’t think it will be adequate to recharge soil moisture. The jet stream track probably won’t have much change – he says – which is why he thinks everything will depend on spring rains…

“On the one hand that’s going to be favorable, in terms of field work, because I think field work will get off to a good start and that kind of thing, on the other hand it is going to make the situation very dependant on rainfall that doesn’t take a long time to show. And I think we will be going into the 2012 crop season with a deficit of oil moisture.”

At this point – Anderson doesn’t see the main driver behind the dry, mild winter changing anytime soon.
 


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