Is it too early to think about another hot, dry summer?

Not for a University of Missouri professor who says that’a likely this year across the Midwest.

Tony Lupo, chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, points out that the Midwest and Southwest have had drought and warmer-than-normal conditions. He sees no relief soon.

Lupo, principal investigator at the Global Climate Change Group and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, sees two scenarios:

• A continued La Nina climate pattern, meaning drought and warmer-than-normal temperatures from Texas to Iowa. Weather influenced by La Nina, he points out, tends to be dry for weeks, followed by thunderstorms and heavy rain – not the best for farmers, who would prefer smaller, steadier rains that soak in rather than big storms with a lot of water runoff.

• A new El Nino pattern this fall, meaning more rain and lower temperatures.

The La Nina effect comes when there are unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific;  El Nino is the opposite, with unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.

Lupo said the Midwest could fall under a “heat dome” affecting the country as it did in 2011.