La Niña update

Brian Bledsoe, Southern Livestock Standard

July 8, 2024

If you are a frequent reader, you know I’ve been talking about the transition from the El Niño to La Niña for months. So, it’s time to see where we are with that transition and where we are headed. Here is a look at the current sea surface temperature anomaly map, as I type on June 30th.

We have been out of El Niño for months and La Niña has been trying to develop. You can clearly see the blue shading along the equator off the west coast of South America. However, the development of La Niña has put on the breaks. The graphic below from the Climate Prediction Center kind of tells the story by way of measuring upper oceanic heat content in the ENSO region.

Since July of 2023, you can see how the El Niño spiked in earyl winter and then rapidly transitioned to neutral and weak La Niña conditions. This isn’t that out of the ordinary, as La Niña will usually develop into whatever it is going to be in the fall and early winter, before exiting in the spring. So while this temporary “halt” in its development buys us some time, I see the development picking up again in the coming months. Here are the latest model predictions for how strong this La Niña event will be and how long it will last…

All of those lines represent individual model forecasts. Generally speaking, this event is forecast to be a weak to moderate event, maxing out from November through January. It is then forecast to weaken as we finish winter and move into spring. At face value, this appears to be good news. However, even a weak La Niña can have harsh impacts on the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast Region. Plus, we still have some work to do to figure out how strong this event will last and how long it will last. That being said, the precipitation and temperature anomaly forecasts look like this from July-September.

July/August/September Precipitation Anomaly Forecast

July/August/September Temperature Anomaly Forecast

The core of the heat looks to be focused across the Four Corners states and the Atlantic hurricane season is still looking active. We will reevaluate all of this next month… Hope to see you all at the Beef Cattle Short Course in early August!


Southern Livestock

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