On Jan. 28, Douglas told NCBA attendees that he expects this El Niño event to be similar to the El Niños in 1982, ’83, ’97 and ’98, relieving drought conditions in many parts of the U.S.

Woolsey cassidy
Managing Editor / Ag Proud – Idaho
Cassidy is a contributing editor to Progressive Cattle and Progressive Forage magazines.

“A lot of the country, with the exception of the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, is going to benefit from this new climate change that we have,” Douglas said. “Things are a lot better than what they were at the start of last year. We’ve really eliminated a lot of the drought through the western U.S.”

Douglas further elaborated on the El Niño event, explaining “the hotter the ocean, the more moisture there is in the atmosphere,” and that’s exactly what is occurring in the North and South Pacific all the way into the Indian Ocean.

To clear up the confusion, Douglas also pointed out that the record-breaking temperatures are not a result of global warming, but rather a correlation to El Niño.

“El Niño is what is really causing this warming event in the world,” he explained. “It’s not global warming. If it were global warming, it would have been a steady upward trend, and it’s not; it’s El Niño. This El Niño event is no different to the previous El Niños on record.”


Looking at the forecast month-by-month, Douglas projected March to behave similar to February, with warm temperatures in the Northern states and cooler temperatures in the Southwest. In April, strong westerly winds will move across the plains, preventing the area from warming up.

“It is likely that we will see delayed planting because of this very cool April,” he said.

In terms of precipitation, March is predicted to be very stormy all the way from the West Coast to the Central Plains – indicating blizzards and heavy snow. However, as April comes along, the precipitation levels will likely die down.

“But as we get into May (this is somewhat surprising, but typical of El Nino), it is going to remain relatively moist in the western U.S. Normally, the rainy season stops then, but it looks like it’s not going to happen this year,” he said.

Douglas also predicted a dramatic temperature change in the summer. In June, the West will start off cool, and then as July approaches, the coolness will remain in the West, but the heat will begin to develop in the southeastern areas of the U.S.

“We are going to have to worry about what August is going to do to our crop,” he said. “This will be the switch from El Niño to La Niña.”

Overall, Douglas expected weather conditions across the U.S. to be moderately fair. The drought conditions that have occurred for the last five to 10 years in the Southwest are not likely to reoccur, he said. Instead, the Northwestern states, especially during the cool season, will take most of the brunt this year.  end mark

PHOTO: Staff photo.

Please visit our other 2016 NCBA CattleFax articles:

CattleFax at NCBA: Price shock period is closing

CattleFax at NCBA: Production factors still positive

CattleFax at NCBA: Grain, energy prices point downward

CattleFax at NCBA: Devaluing currencies and its affect on US trade