RealAg LIVE! with Eric Snodgrass on flash droughts and spring forecasts


There are few things as popular for farmers to discuss than the weather. While it’s still too early in the year to get a solid handle on spring trends, there are some fascinating weather patterns at play.

To translate all the temperature, wind, moisture, and weather flows, we go to Eric Snodgrass, senior atmospheric scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions, for this episode of RealAg LIVE! to discuss what the spring season may look like in both western and eastern Canada.

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  • The first half of winter was actually a bit boring.
  • The polar vortex headed to Siberia and China
  • Now, the real cold has landed in Canada
  • The west is dry — heading in to the spring season
  • Western U.S. and Western Canada both are dry
  • Southern Saskatchewan and Southern Manitoba is extremely dry
  • For the U.S., California is dry, Washington and Oregon got some snow
  • Corn belt is dry too, and this brings up major concerns for planting
  • Strange things: snow drought in river basins
  • Storms going around the Great Plains
  • 20-25″ snow deficits in some areas. Where will the moisture come from? Colder air means less moisture in the air
  • High and dry, literally. 105!
  • What about Ontario? A few areas had very little snow in December. But it’s coming on now.
  • Great Lakes are only about 15 per cent ice covered, so it has been mild
  • 2020 missed out on some warm weather early
  • What are we looking at for March in Ontario? Trying to bring some warmer weather to the region, but that could mean the Prairies stay very cold
  • 2019: southwest flow in the jet stream. Wet, wet, wet in Ontario
  • This year: not a hint of southwest flow. That’s where the dryness is coming from.
  • La Niña weather pattern? We often think to steal the momentum out of the atmosphere and making it get stuck
  • 2018/19 — neither La Niña or El Niño and it meant cold, but more steady conditions
  • This La Niña is starting to wane, but will it go out with a bang?
  • Spring moisture can undo many of winter’s sins
  • Signals are pointing to a dry bias, unfortunately
  • Brazil’s Mato Grosso is dry, but that still means 1 to 4 inches a WEEK.
  • Safrinha (the little harvest) crop is going to go in late (corn and cotton)
  • What about volcano eruptions? Big ones have an impact on certain conditions, for sure
  • Ocean temps in the Pacific will be telling this year
  • Waiting to see how the spring pattern sets up
  • Winds looks similar to 2017-2018
  • Need to get past the coldest part of winter before really predict the spring trends
  • Atlantic Canada is a really interesting area
  • Long-term trends: east of the Rockies, precipitation is being delivered in big bursts — flash floods and flash droughts. Delivery of rainfall is changing. What does it mean for farming?
  • Water management will become so important
  • Dry year? Shift acres, get insurance, and adapt.

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RealAg LIVE! (view all)Season 2 (2021) Episode 64

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