World Crop Weather Outlook

10/10/12 -- My US weather friend Gail Martell of Martell Crop Projections provides us with the latest news that La Nina (surprisingly a wreak-ravaging female who doesn't give a monkeys about the damage she leaves behind) may not after all be giving way to El Nino (a nice lad who works hard, and generally tries his best only to come home one day and find his stuff in bin bags in the hall whilst Nina is upstairs with the local rugby club), and what that means for global agriculture:

The Climate Prediction Centre has changed its outlook on El Nino, now calling for ENSO-neutral conditions for the next several months.

The slackening of the El Nino indicates a broader shift in the climate in the Pacific Basin. This would affect crop growing areas in nations at both ends of the Basin. The trade winds direction and intensity would be altered. Also, rainfall patterns in the sub-tropics would be impacted in the countries that border the Pacific Sea. How the jet stream tracks across North America would also be changed. The potential consequences of ENSO-neutral conditions (as opposed to El Nino) are listed below:

  • Less winter rainfall in US hard red winter wheat (maybe average but not real wet)
  • Colder winter in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest and Western Canada
  • Increased rainfall in Australia’s east coast, benefiting wheat development
  • Heavy rain potential in Indonesia palm fruit plantations (El Nino causes drought)
  • Drier weather in Argentina and South Brazil
  • Bouts of summer heat in southern South America (opposite of El Nino coolness)

Experts do not anticipate the development of a new La Nina. If the El Nino resumed, it would be a mild one. That was the message of the Australia bi-monthly report issued yesterday.