By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New research shows that drier conditions are shifting east, and that means they are moving closer to Minnesota.

The 100th meridian line is typically the boundary that separates dry air in the west from humid air in the east, but a report by Yale Environment 360, an online news magazine, shows the boundary has shifted 140 miles east since 1980, putting it close to the South Dakota-Minnesota border.

“There is evidence that parts of the Dakotas have gotten to a state where they lose a little bit more water than they used to,” said Kenny Blumenfeld, DNR climatologist.

Blumenfeld is aware of the research that shows drier conditions shifting about 140 miles over the past 40 years, covering much of South Dakota.

But while the line now falls close to the Minnesota border, he said our state hasn’t been impacted.

“You’d have to look in the far northwestern part of the state before you would see any evidence of drying in the short term and the most recent few years,” Blumenfeld said.

In fact, Blumenfeld said Minnesota trends show much wetter conditions over the past few decades.

“It does seem, I wouldn’t say likely, but it does seem possible we’ll have more of those arid conditions in Minnesota in the future, but in terms of right now it’s not obvious that that’s happening. In fact, I would say the opposite,” Blumenfeld said.

He also said that while northwestern Minnesota has been a little drier, that part of the state has still seen plenty of wet years in the past decade.

On the other hand, the southwestern part of the state has seen even more rain the past few years, essentially the opposite of a drought.

John Lauritsen

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