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120 years of data back climate predictions

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Pat Guinan isn’t the type to make weather predictions based on a dry year, a wet year, even two of each.

Guinan, the Missouri State Climatologist, was a featured speaker Wednesday at the 2013 Ray County Soil and Crops Conference, an event that filled all the available seats at the Veterans Building in Richmond.

While Thursday morning’s steady rain was surely a welcome sight for farmers, homeowners with large trees and anyone tired of drought conditions, Guinan wouldn’t be one to draw any conclusions.

“There’s no bearing for what happened last year with what will happen this year,” said Guinan, speaking at the Missouri Extension event. “There’s just incredible variation from year to year. There’s just no way to predict how much precipitation we’ll see this growing season.”

Guinan has the data to back up his conclusions. He has access to both the big picture – more than 120 years of Missouri weather data – as well as the sharper focus of current weather reports, year-to-year comparisons and weather trends.

In his talk Wednesday, Guinan focused on the drought of 2012, using a series of slides with statistical data and charts to illustrate.

“What was really interesting this year was that we had three other variables that put this drought on steroids,” he said.

More than 30 Ray County farmers filled the tables at the Veterans Building Wednesday for the 2013 Soil and Crop Conference and a talk by the state climatologist. Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

More than 30 Ray County farmers filled the tables at the Veterans Building Wednesday for the 2013 Soil and Crop Conference and a talk by the state climatologist. Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

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