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Forecaster Sees Weakening El Nino Benefit

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Resource News International

Western Canadian farmers can expect to head into the 2010 growing season facing similar weather-related problems as they did in the past year, with dryness persisting in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the potential for flooding in southern Manitoba, said Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. in a presentation at the annual Canadian Wheat Board Grain World conference in Winnipeg, February 22.

He forecast conditions to show some improvement through the growing season, with early signals pointing to relatively favourable harvest conditions in most areas.

Looking at a number of factors; including sunspot activity, long-term cycles and parallels, as well as El Nino conditions, Lerner said much of Canadian Prairies will experience warmer-than-normal temperatures this spring, although those temperatures could vary from week to week, potentially leading to planting delays. Dryness will be a concern in the western Prairies to start the season, but “We’re not so dry that we can’t get caught up,” said Lerner. He added that expected weakening of the current El Nino would be beneficial for precipitation on the Prairies.

While the western Prairies are dry, snowfall levels in the northern U. S. are very high this year, which could lead to flooding concerns in the Red River Valley region of Manitoba if the snow melts quickly, said Lerner.

Heading into the late spring, Lerner said his forecasts were still showing dryness in central and northern Alberta, while southern Manitoba could remain on the wet side.

For the summer, Lerner forecast warmer-than-normal temperatures in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, with average to above-average precipitation. Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan could be cooler, with precipitation in most of the growing areas of the two provinces also above normal. He said the one problem area would most likely be the Peace River region of Alberta, where dryness could persist through the summer.

From a global standpoint, Lerner said there were no real weather-related issues in South America, North Africa, or India. He said wet conditions in Europe could lead to flooding, while in Australia multiple years of drought are likely over.

About the author


Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.



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