The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal predictions for the forthcoming March_may rainy season, which is vital to agriculture and food security in a region vulnerable to both droughts and floods.
It predicted an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall over northern, western and southern Tanzania; Burundi; Rwanda; much of Uganda; western Kenya; western Ethiopia and much of South Sudan. Specifically, it said there was a 40% probability of near normal rainfall, a 35% probability of above normal rainfall and a 25% probability of below normal rainfall in these areas.
Increased likelihood of near normal (40%) to below normal (35%) rainfall is indicated over much of the northern, eastern and coastal areas, it said, noting a 20% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas.
The consensus climate outlook was issued at the end of a meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), 26-28 February in Entebbe, Uganda. It brought together national, regional and international climate experts as well as users of climate early warning advisories from sectors such as food security, health and water resources and for disaster risk reduction.
Factors taken into consideration in the climate outlook include cooler than average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the western Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea as well as warmer than average SSTs over central and eastern Indian Ocean; and the ongoing and potential formation of tropical cyclones over south-western Indian Ocean.
Most computer model forecasts indicate the possible development of a weak El Niño during the second half of the year 2014. WMO Updates will be released on regular basis and will inform the detailed climate outlook for the June to August 2014 rainfall season will be provided at the next Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum in May 2014.
The outlook is relevant only for seasonal time scales and relatively large areas. Local and month-to-month variations might occur as the season progresses. Regional forecast updates will be provided by ICPAC, and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will provide detailed national updates.
WMO has been supporting Regional Climate Outlook Forums around the world, ever since the inception of the first forum in Southern Africa in 1997. Regional Climate Outlook Forums presently serve more than half the world’s population. WMO is working to ensure that the climate outlook information is reliable and accessible to the user community as part of the Global Framework for Climate Services.