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weather predictions for winter 2020


By Eric Snodgrass, principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag Solutions.

As 2019 comes to a close, much of the state of Missouri will see above-average temperatures and a relatively quiet weather pattern through Christmas. Changes will be coming after December 27-28, as a deeper trough out west digs through the four-corners states setting up an active weather pattern just before the start of the new year. Here are the major players moving forward. Watch the video above for more detailed information.

  1. Big changes are coming to the tropics. The Indian Ocean Dipole, which has had a stranglehold on global weather patterns since September, is weakening and the Madden-Jullian Oscillation (MJO) will be taking over as the primary tropical weather feature for the rest of winter. This means we will have to carefully watch the phase of the MJO to help determine our jet stream flow in January and February.
  2. There is no strong signal from either El Nino or La Nina suggesting an active weather pattern that will change quite frequently rather than getting locked into one phase for several weeks.
  3. January will be wet for South America, but a dry down is anticipated for February across Brazil's main growing regions. Brazil soybean growers are expecting their largest or second-largest soybean crop on record and a very large safrinha corn crop as well.
  4.  The warm north Pacific Ocean will likely favor a split jet stream pattern for the remainder of winter which will create an active winter storm track through the Ohio and Mid-Mississippi River Valleys.
  5. Current long-range forecasts by all major forecasting models for spring (March-April-May) are wetter than average. This suggests tight planting windows once again, but please remember that a 4-6 month forecast made in December has little skill. We need to be watching ocean temperatures in the north Pacific Ocean - if they remain warm, that favors an active and wet spring. If the ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska cool, a warmer and drier spring is more likely. 

Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions this winter as the global weather patterns shift due to the lack of a dominant player in the global winds (like El Nino)!

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