The Kiwanis Club of Grinnell gathered on Tuesday, March 11, for regular business at the Bistro in the Buckley Hall, Mayflower Community. Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Ellwyn Taylor, Ph.D., hosted a question and answer session with Kiwanis members and several guests.
Taylor annually speaks at the Kiwanis Club to offer his predictions for the coming year, especially targeted for farmers. He also shared his forecasting tools that anyone in Central Iowa can use to forecast conditions four to six weeks out.
The first questions focused what the weather in Arkansas was doing. Taylor explained that here in Iowa we can determine our weather in April, beginning of planting season, if we watch the weather in Arkansas in March. They are having an average year with some moisture, so Taylor says Iowa farmers can anticipate an average spring.
Taylor answered questions about the frost depth, snow cover effect on frost depths, and arrival of spring. He also explained the Polar Vortexes of this past winter. These are not new weather conditions, just a new name. The news centers on the fact that in a normal winter the United States would have three of these polar or arctic blasts. This year Iowa has experienced nine. He provided the science behind these conditions and their origin at the equator and the vortex created when the air comes down over the polar caps.
Another long discussion focused on the El Nino and La Nina and the impact on planting seasons. This lead to a discussion on the 60-year cycle of weather patterns. The Gulf Stream moves across the Atlantic Ocean in about 30 years and then it takes about 30 years to move back to US coasts. Taylor explained that as the current moves closer to Europe, the United States has more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. The United States should be seeing parallels to the 1946-1947 weather patterns. Taylor warned the audience that they should expect extreme and more radical weather patterns for the next 20 years until the Gulf Stream moves closer to US shores. He then shared briefly that farmers need better risk management for the next decade due to less predictable weather patterns.
Individuals interested in attending a Kiwanis meeting are invited to a regular meeting held on Tuesdays at 12 noon, at the Bistro, located in Buckley Hall, Mayflower Community. For more information, please call the Kiwanis president, Dick Gustafson, at 236-5603.