Warmer conditions expected for SD winter
August 21, 2015
El Nino will continue to play a significant role in North America's climate for the next several months, according to the latest temperature and precipitation outlooks, released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on August 20.
"The current El Nino is forecast to increase in intensity through the winter season," said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.
"As a result, this fall we will continue to see the impacts of the warm tropical Pacific Ocean on our climate in the U.S," she said.
"NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's outlook for September and the season ahead indicate a typical El Nino pattern, with warmer than average conditions expected in the west and southeast," explained Edwards.
For South Dakota, Edwards said that this should mean near average temperatures throughout the month of September. "An area south of South Dakota – expanding from the Four Corners to the Great Lakes – is forecast to be cooler than average in September. This region just touches southern South Dakota in the updated maps."
Due to the projected El Nino, Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension Climate Specialist, said a large area of the Nation is leaning towards wetter than average conditions in September, with the highest likelihood focused over the southwest, expanding eastward into the Great Plains.
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"This area also reaches just into the southern counties of South Dakota," Todey said. "Based on historical data from recent decades, during historical El Nino events, September does not show a strong tendency toward either wetter or drier conditions."
Looking ahead to the months of September, October and November, the area forecast to be cooler than average is restricted to the Southern Plains. "Much of the Northern Plains and Midwest region, including South Dakota, is projected to have equal chances of temperatures that are near above, below or near average," Todey said.
Impact on harvest
The outlook for fall season precipitation continues to show wetter than average conditions from the Southwest to Mississippi River and Tennessee River valleys. "This region includes South Dakota, which is representative of several long-range climate computer models," Todey said.
Overall, the chances of wetter than average conditions during corn and soybean harvest are increasing, particularly in southern South Dakota. "It may be wise to consider marketing options and plans for logistics in fall harvest season if this long-range outlook verifies," Edwards said.
The outlook for winter 2015-2016 is projected to be warmer than average across the northern states. At this time, Edwards said there is no particular leaning toward wet or dry for South Dakota in the winter season outlook.