World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Many parts of the Greater Horn of Africa are expected to receive below average rainfall in the important March to May rainy season, worsening food security and water availability in countries already seriously hit by drought, according to a new seasonal outlook issued by the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum.
“What makes the current drought alarming in the Equatorial Greater Horn of Africa region is that it follows two consecutive poor rainfall seasons in 2016, and the likelihood of depressed rainfall persisting into the March-May 2017 rainfall season remains high,” said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), which convened the regional forum.
“The situation will be worse in countries already experiencing drought, including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, parts of Uganda, South Sudan and parts of Tanzania. Many parts of the region will experience serious water stress,” it said.
With the exception of Sudan and Rwanda, the October - December 2016 rains failed in most countries in region. Contributing factors include the weak La Niña, which has just ended, and reduced moisture influx due to the cooling of the ocean water in the east African coast.
March to May is the main cropping season for many parts of the Greater Horn of Africa. The seasonal outlook is therefore of great importance to inform decision-making in climate sensitive sectors. The forum, attended by meteorological and climate experts and users from agriculture and food security, livestock, water resources, disaster risk management, Non- Governmental Organizations and development partner, took place in Addis Ababa from 6 to 7 February 2017.
The World Meteorological Organization supports regional climate outlook forums, which combine forecasting products from a variety of different models into a single consensus outlook. National meteorological services then downscale the regional outlook into national and local forecasts.
Droughts and Floods
[Greater Horn of Africa climate outlook March - May 2017] The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum said there is an increased likelihood of below normal to near normal rainfall over northern and eastern Tanzania; north, eastern and coastal Kenya; southern and north-western Somalia; north and western Djibouti; western and south-eastern Eritrea; north-eastern, eastern and southern Ethiopia; southern parts of South Sudan; north-eastern Uganda and southern parts of Sudan.
Central and western Tanzania, much of Burundi and Rwanda, western Uganda and south-western parts of South Sudan have increased probability for above to near normal rainfall.
Likewise, the southern Tanzania, western, parts of South Rift and central Kenya; much of central Uganda, northern parts of South Sudan, extreme southern parts of Sudan, western Ethiopia, much of Eritrea and parts of central and north-eastern Somalia are likely to have probability of near normal to above normal rainfall.
“The forecasted performance of the March-April-May 2017 rainfall is expected to have mixed implications for food security, livestock production and productivity, water, health in different parts of the region,” it said.
“The climate outlook is likely to lead to both drought and flood related disasters in different parts of the region. Some regions that are predicted to receive depressed rainfall during the March-April-May 2017 rainfall season also experienced poor rainfall performance during the October-November-December 2016 rainfall season which has pushed areas like Somalia, parts of Kenya, Uganda and Southern Ethiopia into serious food insecurity. Poor performance of the March-April May rainfall will only exacerbate the already deteriorating situation in these countries,” it said.
“On the other hand, there are risks of flooding in some parts of Tanzania; flooding and landslides in parts of Burundi and Rwanda, western Uganda and south-western parts of South Sudan due to the increased probability for above to near normal rainfall.”