Weather forecaster predicts drier spring for some parts of Western Canada, wetter spring for others

Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. was the closing speaker at the Crossroads Crop Conference Wednesday in Calgary. Lerner provided some hope that 2024 will not be a serious drought year.

Lerner examines a range of cycles and factors to make his growing season weather forecasts. His presentation is full of charts, graphs and maps. At this point, it appears El Nino has peaked and is weakening with some forecasters predicting a turnaround to La Nina this spring. Lerner also considers an 18-year cycle and then looks for years with similar fall and early winter patterns to make his predictions for the year ahead. 

All the analysis has Lerner leaning towards 2024 be similar to 2006. He is calling for a drier than normal spring in eastern Alberta and part of western Saskatchewan. However, spring weather could be a bit wet in southern Manitoba. For summer weather, he expects a turnaround with a large area from Edmonton to North Battleford wetter than normal, while southern Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan could be drier than normal. 

Over the near term, he doesn’t expect any large wet pattern in the next four or five weeks. However, if incoming systems end up being wetter than expected, that’s a good omen for the year ahead. As for snowpack in the Rockies, Lerner does not expect enough snow to bring that up to normal.

2023 was the world’s hottest year on record and a lot of observers link that to climate change and CO2 emissions. Lerner disagrees. Yes, the climate has warmed over recent decades, but he attributes the 2023 spike to the huge Hunga Tonga volcano eruption in January 2022. The eruption didn’t make a lot of news because it occurred underwater in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, it was the largest volcano in recent history spewing massive amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere. That, says Lerner, is the reason for last year’s temperature spike. He expects the effect will be lessened in 2024.

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