Seasonal Monitor

Above-average mid-November precipitation facilitated winter wheat planting

December 2020

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
USGS

Key Messages

  • Well-distributed precipitation around mid-November reduced the precipitation deficits prevailing from the beginning of the 2020/21 wet season in the country. Average cumulative precipitation conditions are currently observed across the country.

  • Snow depth is generally above average in the northern, northeastern, eastern, and central highland basins, but below average at higher elevations in the northeastern basins.

  • Below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures are expected due to La Niña conditions through the end of March 2021. Overall, the northern wheat belt may be stressed by reduced water availability and increased water demand during the 2021 season.

  • The Global Forecast System (GFS) 7-day total precipitation forecast indicates a 50 percent chance of 25 mm precipitation or more in the central and northeast in the week ending December 8 and a 30-40 percent chance of 25 mm precipitation or more in the northeast during the week ending December 15.

  • Recent mid-November precipitation and that anticipated in the coming two weeks are expected to create favorable conditions for normal completion of winter wheat planting. However, it is important to note that colder temperatures may freeze the soils and make them more difficult for planting in December.

UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

Precipitation anomalies:

Cumulative precipitation from October 1 through November 10 was significantly below normal over Afghanistan. However, mid-November precipitation across most of the country erased the above deficits; as of November 25, average cumulative precipitation conditions are seen across the country (Figure 1). It is reported that the mid-November precipitation has been beneficial to farmers who had already planted wheat, while farmers who had not yet started cultivation are reported to be waiting for the soil to become drier before proceeding with regular planting operations.

Snowpack and snow water volume:

Good precipitation around mid-November has led to positive snow accumulation in the lower elevations of the country's eastern, central, central highland, northern, and northeastern basins. On the other hand, negative snow depth anomalies are seen at higher elevations in the Kokcha_Ab-i-Rustaq and Panj basins as of December 1 (Figure 2). An initial spike in the snow water volumes is seen in the basins that had received mid-November precipitation. On the other hand, snow water storages are yet to show an increase in Farah Adraskan, Khash Khuspas, and Arghandab basins.

FORECAST

Precipitation: 

According to the Global Forecast System (GFS) 7-day total precipitation forecast, there is up to 50 percent chance of 25 mm precipitation or more in the central and northeast in the week ending December 8 (Figure 3). Further, the GFS 14-day total precipitation forecast also indicates a 30-40 percent probability of 25mm precipitation or more in the northeast during the week ending December 15. The above anticipated precipitation will benefit wheat cultivation in areas where it was delayed and complete wheat planting in time. 

There may be wide-ranging consequences of the below-average cumulative precipitation expected due to La Niña, including: below-average snow accumulation, reduced snow water volumes and runoff, lower water availability for winter and spring wheat from March through May because of deficient and uneven distribution of spring rains, below-average wheat production, reduced water availability for second crop cultivation from July through September, and over-reliance on groundwater.  

Temperatures:

The North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecast for December 2020-February 2021 continues to indicate a high probability of above-average temperatures across the country during this period (Figure 4). The forecast of persistent above-average temperatures may initiate earlier than normal snowmelt, which may result in reduced water availability for crop water use in summer months. Above-average temperatures and reduced water availability may result in moisture-stressing wheat cultivation during the growing season, especially in the rainfed belt. 

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information here.

 

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics