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Jan. 10, 2020: Little to No Cattle Cold-Stress this Winter and the Latest NMME Model Runs Continue to Show a Warm Forecast
NOAA and its consortium of university partners released an update to their North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) forecast this week. The latest model output for temperature (map below) shows a tilt in the odds for an above average February-March-April (FMA) for a large chunk of the U.S. Texas and New Mexico have slightly higher odds of an above average FMA.
Orange/brown = Increased odds of above normal temperatures
Unshaded = Forecast couldn’t resolve a signal, so equal chances of above, normal, or below normal temperatures
Blue = Increased odds of below normal temperatures
Precipitation in the FMA timeframe for Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma is less clear, however. The models (see map below) are indicating there is a tilt in the odds of below-normal precipitation for Kansas and Oklahoma. If you look at the individual models that comprise the NMME forecast, two of the seven show the next three months as wet, however, the majority of the models (5 of the 7) show either dry and near normal conditions. Unfortunately, this is not an inspiring forecast for those areas currently in drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor currently shows 38 percent of Texas in drought, while 28 percent of New Mexico, and 11 percent of Oklahoma are in drought.
Green = Increased odds of above normal precipitation
Unshaded = Forecast couldn’t resolve a signal, so equal chances of above, normal, or below normal precipitation
Brown = Increased odds of below normal precipitation
Warm Winter and Little to No Cattle Cold Stress
Taking a look at the Comprehensive Climate Index (CCI), and animal temperature stress index developed at the University of Nebraska for feedlot cattle, shows we have indeed had a warm winter so
far. The map below shows how much the index since December has deviated from normal conditions. Other than the Southwest and parts of the Northern Plains/Midwest, it has been several degrees above what normally would be expected for December and the first part of January. If the NMME forecast are to be believed, conditions will continue to generally track above normal. This doesn’t mean we will not have cold fronts moving through and cattle experiencing really low temps, it just means on the season as a whole could be warmer and stress from cold conditions could be generally less over the next three months.
CCI Index Variables = Temperature, Wind Speed, Relative Humidy, and Solar Irradiance
Orange/Red = Warmer conditions than expected
Blue = Colder conditions than expected