The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal predictions for the forthcoming March-May 2016 rainy season, which is important for agriculture and food security in a region heavily impacted by the powerful El Niño.
The regional climate outlook indicates an increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over central and southern parts of Sudan, southwestern Eritrea, western and southern Djibouti, northern and eastern Ethiopia, extreme northern and southern Somalia, northern parts of South Sudan, eastern and southern Kenya, much of Tanzania and extreme southern Burundi.
Much of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, southern and eastern parts of South Sudan, southern Ethiopia, central Somalia, and western, northwestern and central Kenya have increased probability for near normal to above normal rainfall during March to May 2016 season.
The seasonal outlook took into account atmospheric-ocean conditions over the adjacent Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as the predicted neutral Indian Ocean Dipole mode and decaying El Niño conditions.
The outlook was issued at the end of a meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) from 22 to 23 February in Kigali, Rwanda.
The forum discussed the 2015-2016 El Niño. This has peaked in strength and is expected to decline in coming months, though impacts will continue, according to the latest WMO Update. El Niño contributed to above average rainfall in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, and drier than normal conditions in South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and North-Eastern Ethiopia, which is suffering from severe drought.
“We need to get better not only at predicting the weather and changes in the climate, but also at being ready to adapt to them and, when needed, provide early warnings to those in need,” said Minister of Natural Resources of Rwanda Vincent Biruta.
Dr. Biruta encouraged the experts to use “collective skills, knowledge and experience to produce a regional climate outlook that can inform policy makers in various sectors across the region”.
The forum brought together national, regional and international climate experts as well as users of climate early warning advisories and development partners. It discussed the implications for sectors like food security, health and water resources and for disaster risk reduction as well as coping strategies.
National meteorological and hydrological services will downscale the regional forecast to provide national and local predictions that can be used by the agriculture, fisheries, energy, transport sectors and other users.
With the aim to further improve accessibility to information on climate and hazard data, ICPAC unveiled a live web-map to monitor climate and associated hazards in the Greater Horn of Africa region. With technical support from UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), IGAD-ICPAC’s GIS experts developed this comprehensive map that include multiple layers of information related to climate, flood hazard and changes in vegetation conditions all constantly updated to ensure timely information is available to all stakeholders simultaneously.
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, accessible and relevant to the user community as part of the Global Framework for Climate Services.
The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook is available here
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs page on El Niño here
WMO El Niño Update here