Do you expect the western drought to end soon? Unlikely, say forecasters.

Dry conditions in the west that have dashed hopes of a respite from a relentless drought are expected to continue across the region well...


Dry conditions in the west that have dashed hopes of a respite from a relentless drought are expected to continue across the region well into spring and beyond, forecasters said Thursday.

Dan Collins, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a briefing that the continuation of La Niña, a climate pattern that originates in the Pacific Ocean and influences weather patterns around the world, will help this temperatures are expected to be above normal. , and below normal precipitation, over much of the west through May.

Dr Collins said he also did not expect to see much improvement beyond this month, particularly in California, which has suffered from brutally dry conditions last summer which has led to water shortages and contributed to several huge forest fires.

“From a climate perspective, there doesn’t appear to be any major change in drier than normal conditions in the coming months,” he said.

Much of the western half of the country remains dry, although wet weather in the second half of last year reduced the severity of conditions in many areas. Forecasts of more heat and drought mean the drought will continue across most of the West.

For much of the southwest, this most likely means a severe prolonged drought, or mega-drought, that began in 2000 will continue for a 23rd year. Scientists studying the past climate in the region said in a study published this week that the current mega-drought is now the driest two-decade period in at least 1,200 years. Their simulations also predicted that it would continue this year and probably longer.

Dr Collins said drought could also develop in some areas, including south-central Arizona and eastern and coastal Texas. The situation could improve in much of eastern Washington State.

During La Niña, colder than normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific affect the amount of energy that is put into the atmosphere, which in turn influences the jet stream, airflow rapidly moving high in the atmosphere. In the United States, La Niña usually, but not always, results in warmer conditions in the south of the country.

Dr Collins said La Niña is expected to persist until May and sea surface temperatures are expected to shift to neutral conditions, neither hotter nor colder, in summer, reducing the atmospheric effect.

Warmer than normal temperatures are also expected across much of the eastern half of the country over the next three months, according to forecasts. Wetter than normal conditions are forecast for the Ohio Valley and drought conditions are likely to develop in Florida.

Despite the blizzard which affected much of the northeast in late January, the month was drier than average across the region.

The blizzard was what meteorologists call a bomb cyclone, which occurs when a mass of cold air collides with a warmer mass, resulting in a very rapid drop in barometric pressure, high winds and, above all, if it occurs along the coast, heavy snowfall.

Samantha Borisoff, a climatologist at Cornell University’s Northeast Regional Climate Center, said that’s what happened on Jan. 28. Forming over warmer-than-usual ocean waters, the storm picked up more moisture, bringing snowfall amounts of 3 feet or more. in certain places.

Ms Borisoff said that although it is not possible to know for sure at this stage, global warming may have affected the strength of the storm, because as humans pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the ocean is warming up as well as the atmosphere.

A bomb cyclone depends for its energy largely on the temperature difference between cold and warm air masses, so an air mass that expands over a warmer ocean would create a greater difference of temperature with the cold mass that has grown above the earth, helping to fuel the storm. As it happens, Ms Borisoff said, parts of the western North Atlantic have been “quite warm”.

NOAA data showed that globally, January was the sixth warmest on the modern record, which dates back 143 years. Given La Niña and other factors, forecasters said there was only a 10% chance that 2022 would be the hottest year on record. But like the past few years, as the world continues to warm, this year is all but certain to be in the top 10 warmest.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Do you expect the western drought to end soon? Unlikely, say forecasters.
Do you expect the western drought to end soon? Unlikely, say forecasters.
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