Iceland's Volcano Impact Likely Overridden

April 20, 2010 07:00 PM

Linda H. Smith, AgWeb Business and Marketing Editor
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted on June 15, 1991, ash circled the globe within 3 weeks and covered 42% of the Earth within months. A year after the eruption, global temperatures dropped almost one degree F and we saw "a year without a summer.” Thanks to that and an El Nino spring as well, corn yields increased 21%, reports Allen Motew of QT Weather. "However, to see such an effect in 2011, more ash would be needed than we have seen so far.”
The most dominant weather-maker this summer is the solar minimum, which promises a cool summer, says Drew Lerner of World Weather, Inc. "The reason Iceland's volcanic eruption is getting so much attention is because of the flight cancellations in Europe. So far, it is a far cry from the dramatics of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, and especially relative to Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. It may help reinforce the cooling effect of our cooler sun, but its effects are likely to be minor.”
The rapid demise of El Nino that is underway could lead to a "confused” atmosphere this summer, says Lerner. "The big question is how fast the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation develops. "That condition tends to favor troughs of low pressure and the West and weak high pressure ridges in the Midwest—leading to lighter than usual rainfall in the eastern Midwest, Delta and Southeast. This could mean quick maturation and rapid harvest progress.”
In 1988, El Nino declined from February through April and between April and June, La Nina developed. "World Weather does not believe La Nina will evolve quite that fast. We anticipate neutral conditions to last into the first half summer at least, and perhaps through the entire season,” Lerner says. "We do not expect a repeat of 1988.”
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