Rainfall predictions for Horn of Africa

Thursday 22nd Mar 2012 by theWeather Club

Image: Oxfam

After the severe drought of 2010/11 across the Horn of Africa, there was a particular interest when the regional outlook for the March-May rainy season was issued. The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum warned of the possibility of below normal rainfall during the main rainy season in Somalia, parts of Kenya and Ethiopia.

The Climate Outlook Forum brought together national experts from countries in the Horn of Africa, along with regional and international experts involved in seasonal climate prediction and users of climate early warning advisories from sectors such as food security and disaster risk reduction.

The regional climate outlook for the March to May rainfall season indicates increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over much of the Horn of Africa region. Specifically, it indicates a 45% probability of below normal rainfall over much of eastern and northern Kenya; southern, eastern and northeastern Ethiopia; Somalia and Djibouti, with a 35% probability of near normal rainfall and a 25% probability of above normal rainfall in these areas. It indicates an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall is indicated over southwestern Tanzania, southwestern Ethiopia, South Sudan and southwestern Sudan.

The climate outlook was issued at the end of a meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), in Kigali, Rwanda. Forum participants addressed what could be done differently to help reduce the negative impacts of future droughts and other climate extremes and provide sustainable solutions to drought emergencies and other climate related disasters in the Greater Horn of Africa.

The severe droughts that ravaged this part of Africa in 2010 and 2011 say consecutive rainy seasons fail causing the worst drought in more than 60 years. This was followed by excessive rains in various equatorial areas including parts of Kenya and southern Somalia at the end of 2011. These regional predictions show that it is more likely to see a return to the drought conditions in the coming months.