Was the Dust Bowl caused by El Niño?
What is referred to as the Dust Bowl was actually a series of four droughts that occurred in rapid succession and lasted nearly ten 10 years, through the 1930s. It’s impossible to lay the total blame for a decade of dry weather on a single El Niño but it’s likely they played some role. They occur every two to seven years, but they aren’t produced by a single influence. A “split” in the jet stream pattern is important because it routes rain systems around drought areas. Why these splits recur with such frequency at certain times is unknown. This is true of the Dust Bowl years that occurred before daily weather balloon measurements of the upper air. Poor land-use practices, such as over-plowing of the land, also contributed.