Baking

Severe weather in South America sparks US interest

KANSAS CITY — Recent extreme weather in South America has amazed the world, just as some of the impressive heat did last summer in southwestern Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. United. South America and North America can trace some of these extreme weather events back to major solar cycles that coincide with La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, among other known weather patterns that can create extreme conditions. The pattern will continue in North America in the spring and summer of 2022 and some of the extremes seen recently in South America should be interpreted as foreshadowings of what could happen in the central United States in a few months.

The pattern that has been unfolding since 2020 is the same 22-year solar cycle that caused extreme droughts in North America like that of the 1930s and 1950s as well as less extreme droughts of the early 2000s, mid-1970s and of 1912-1914. The same extremes have been seen in South America, and the latest drought and extreme heat in Argentina, Paraguay, and southwestern Brazil can be directly associated with La Niña and its simultaneous onset in this current solar cycle of 22 years old.

The frosts and frosts that affected coffee and sugarcane areas in Brazil last July can also be traced to this same pattern. History has shown how frosts in Brazil’s coffee regions are much more likely to approach solar minimum than at other times. Just as the frost potential of coffee being highest near solar minima, the potential for severe drought in North and South America also tends to be associated with solar minimum and particularly when La Niña occurs significantly.

Most periods following solar minimum typically have a multi-year La Niña event that removes moisture from the mid-latitudes and adds it to the tropics. The multi-year La Niña event typically results in a drought problem in South America and North America and World Weather, Inc. believes that these drought problems are more severe in all other solar cycles. The average period from one solar cycle minimum to another is 10 to 12 years and is called the 11-year solar cycle. The 22-year solar cycle is just two of the 11-year cycles combined.

Sociologists have also studied the solar cycle and claim that extreme human behavior is often tied to this solar cycle. No offense, but human behavior seems to be at an extreme right now and has been since 2020. The solar cycle minimum was in 2020.

The weather in South America over the past few months has been a bit extreme, with drought first affecting southwestern Brazil and Paraguay in December. Parts of Argentina also suffered from drought in December as well as in late November and early January. At the onset of the dry regime, South America was experiencing a milder than usual temperature regime, but that all changed in early January when a high-pressure ridge developed and further restricted rainfall while allowing temperatures to soar into the 90s above 110°F. Some extremes in Argentina hit 113° before the heatwave recently crashed, but the prolonged period of below-average rainfall paved the way for the heat excessive and was partly responsible for production cuts when the heat came on so strongly.

The US Plains and part of the Western Corn Belt are also experiencing an extended period of below average rainfall. The bias may be associated with La Niña, but when looking at the pattern in North America, one must consider that drought has already plagued western North America since 2020 and the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is firmly in place and all this while in the middle of the 22-year solar cycle already known for its extreme and multi-year droughts in North America. There is growing concern that if the dry bias in the central United States is not suppressed over the next few months, a high pressure ridge similar to that seen in Argentina could move into the plains and/or west of the Corn Belt and induce a similar bout of excessive heat. The impact could also be negative on crop development, depending on when hot and dry conditions change.

Normally, World Weather, Inc. wouldn’t wave its arms about the potential for drought, but you don’t have to go far back in the history books to see the same drought pattern occur when La Niña hits. too long. Apart from a small La Niña break in the middle of last summer, La Niña has been around for 18 months and is expected to prevail. In fact, studies have shown that La Niña events that occur in this 22-year-old solar cyclone have never lasted less than 25 months and have occurred for up to 36 months. These are worrying statistics, because the longer La Niña lasts, the more moisture is drained from the mid-latitudes of planet Earth, increasing the risk of drought.

Some scientists believe that climate change has added so much moisture to the air that prolonged episodes of La Niña don’t have the same drying effect as they did decades ago. They believe droughts like the one in the 1930s and 1950s will be harder to see because there is so much more moisture in the air to begin with due to warm oceans. There may be some truth to this statement, but the North American drought of 2012 (10 years ago) was a true extreme event and it occurred after a multi-year period of La Niña and with some negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The solar minimum that preceded the 2012 drought was in 2008 and it was not in the same 22-year solar cycle that is present today. The current solar cycle has used to support multi-year droughts of significant impact. The 2012 drought started in the southern plains in 2011 and extended into 2013, but it was mostly a two-year event while those other droughts that occurred in the 22-year cycle usually last three and sometimes four years. The prairies of southwestern Canada have been experiencing drought for five years.

The longer the drought persists, the more extreme the temperatures become, and North and South America have experienced dramatic temperature swings in the past two years. These sudden changes in temperature caused the ground to heave across the American plains, breaking down topsoil into a fine powder, which carried dust whenever the wind blew hard. The wind will sometimes blow stronger than usual this year due to the drought and an associated huge temperature differential from one part of the continent to another. If we hadn’t learned how to manage our farmland in recent years, the big windstorm in December would have brought about a dust storm comparable to that of the 1930s, but fortunately we manage the land better now.

The key is to watch closely over the next few months as the weather in the United States could become as extreme as South America with flooding in the eastern Midwest and severe drought in the Plains and Eastern west of the corn belt, which would be similar to the excessive rains of late Brazil and the drought in Argentina. It’s not a done deal, but the scene is set with some ominous features that need to be watched closely.