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Well distributed precipitation benefited farmers facilitating winter wheat planting

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • December 6, 2018
Well distributed precipitation benefited farmers facilitating winter wheat planting

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  • Key Messages
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • Favorable precipitation in the north, northeast, and eastern parts of the country continued with a slight push towards the south during the second half of November 2018. During this time the above-average moisture conditions facilitated farmers planting winter wheat.  

    • Although snow accumulation grew slightly in the northeastern and central highlands, its spatial distribution remained isolated and mostly unchanged during the second half of November 2018. The snow water storage over the northeastern basins is increasing, but at lower rates than at the beginning of November because of persistent above-average temperature during the month of November.

    • In the coming months of December 2018 through February 2019, both precipitation and temperature are expected to be above-average in the likelihood of a weak El Niño event.


    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

    Precipitation anomalies:

    Northern, northeastern, and eastern parts of Afghanistan continued to receive well spatially distributed precipitation during the months of October and November of 2018. Positive precipitation anomalies, in excess of 10-25 mm in the northern provinces and 50-100 mm in the parts of northeastern and eastern provinces provided necessary moisture conditions for completion of winter wheat planting in these areas (Figure 1). Although, precipitation remained average in the southern, and southwestern provinces, during the last few weeks, a gradual shift to slightly above-average cumulative precipitation towards the south covering Badghis, Maydan Wardak, Logar, Paktya, and Khost provinces was evident (Figures 1 and 2). This increase in precipitation especially over Badghis was beneficial in facilitating winter wheat planting.

    Snowpack and snow water storage:

    Snow accumulation remained isolated and mostly concentrated in parts of northeast and central highlands. Although above-average snow depth difference grew slightly over the region, the spatial distribution remained patchy and mostly unchanged during the second half of November (Figure 3). This patchy high-elevation snow accumulation can be attributed to persistent above-average temperature in the region. The persistent above-average temperature also hindered increases in snow water storage. Although snow water volume remained above-average over the northeastern basins, its accumulation is gradually diminishing (Figure 4). Snow water volume is near average in the northern basins, and yet to begin in other parts of the country.         

    Temperatures:

    Two months into the winter wet season, above-average maximum temperature persisted across much of Afghanistan except at high-elevation areas of the northeastern and central highlands. This above-average maximum daily temperature was helpful for winter wheat planting. However, warm temperatures hindered snow accumulation in the low to moderate elevation areas of Afghanistan. While below freezing minimum temperatures were observed in the higher elevations of Afghanistan during the last week of November, they are expected to be above-average across the country through at least the middle of the winter season (Figure 5).

    Forecasts:

    The Global Forecast System indicates up to 30 mm of total precipitation by December 18th of 2018 in the northern and central parts of the country (Figure 6). This additional precipitation will be beneficial for increasing snow water storage in the central high-lands.  As the likelihood of a weak El Niño event increases, the North American Multi-Model Ensemble predicts above-average precipitation during the months of December 2018—February 2019 across the country. However, the cumulative total precipitation will depend on the storm patterns associated with the weak El Niño event. Above-average precipitation will likely increase snow water storage over the winter wet season, which could provide an important source of water for irrigated crops in the spring and summer of 2019.

    Figures

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    October 1, 2018—November 30, 2018 cumulative precipitation anomaly

    Figure 2

    October 1, 2018—November 30, 2018 cumulative precipitation anomaly

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    October 1, 2018—October 25, 2018 cumulative precipitation anomaly compared to the average

    Figure 3

    October 1, 2018—October 25, 2018 cumulative precipitation anomaly compared to the average

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    Snow depth difference from average (2002-2016) in mm on December 03, 2018.

    Figure 4

    Snow depth difference from average (2002-2016) in mm on December 03, 2018.

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Daily progression of snow water volume in a northern basin of Afghanistan

    Figure 5

    Daily progression of snow water volume in a northern basin of Afghanistan

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Temperature forecast anomaly (December 2018—February 2019)

    Figure 6

    Temperature forecast anomaly (December 2018—February 2019)

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Week II (ending on December 18th of 2018) total precipitation in mm from the Global Forecast System

    Figure 7

    Week II (ending on December 18th of 2018) total precipitation in mm from the Global Forecast System

    Source: NOAA CPC

    FEWS NET’s Seasonal Monitor reports are produced for Central America and the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, and Somalia every 10-to-30 days during the region’s respective rainy season(s). Seasonal Monitors report updates on weather events (e.g., rainfall patterns) and associated impacts on ground conditions (e.g., cropping conditions, pasture and water availability), as well as the short-term rainfall forecast. Find more remote sensing information here.

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