Moisture situation update as of December 10, 2018

  From the December 17, 2018 issue of Agri-News
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 Ralph Wright, manager of the agro-meteorological applications and modelling section with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, analyzes the data.

“Alberta weather has been relatively mild with near normal snowfall packs developing across most of the province (see map 1),” says Wright. “Areas with above normal snowfall accumulations are generally confined to lands north of the Yellowhead Highway, with one in six-year highs found through a large expanse extending from High Prairie eastward towards Lac La Biche. In contrast, snowfall accumulations are below normal across much of the northern Peace Region and throughout the foothills between Edson and the U.S. border.”

Wright says that with the warmer weather of late, most areas south of Calgary are becoming snow free (see map 2). “Within the agricultural areas, the deepest snowpacks can be found around High Prairie, where more than 70 mm of water is estimated to be residing. It is equivalent to more moisture than what is normally received during an average May, or approximately 50 mm.”

“Looking back at the past two years, cumulative precipitation deficits are highly variable across the province with many agricultural areas receiving below the long term normal (see map 3). The greatest deficits - at least one in 12-year lows - can be found across many lands ranging from Red Deer to the U.S. border and across much of the north half of the Peace Region. Larger deficits - at least one in 25-year lows - are found in through the Calgary area, along a wide band that stretches down through to the extreme south east corner of the province. Similarly, most of the north half of the Peace Region is dry with several lands experiencing at least once in 12-year lows.”

“Since crop growth is highly dependent on the reception of timely in-season moisture, long term deficits are not likely to reflect annual crop growth potential. Instead, they may highlight those areas that have diminished local surface water supplies and impact the vigor of perennial crops and native vegetation. Currently, these areas are more vulnerable if much drier than normal conditions prevail over the coming growing season.”

Find more information at, Agricultural Moisture Situation Updates, or contact Ralph Wright, manager of the agro-meteorological applications and modelling section at 780-446-6831.

Ralph Wright

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ralph Wright.
This document is maintained by Christine Chomiak.
This information published to the web on December 12, 2018.