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Precipitation in December facilitated winter wheat planting in most areas

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • January 4, 2021
Precipitation in December facilitated winter wheat planting in most areas

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  • Key Messages
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • FORECAST
  • Partner
    USGS

    Key Messages
    • Positive cumulative precipitation anomalies are observed in the central highlands, central, eastern, northeastern, southeastern, and southern parts of the country as a result of well distributed precipitation in December. Average to slightly negative precipitation anomalies are seen in locations bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan during the same period.
    • As of December 29, above-average snow depth anomalies are seen in the central highlands, central, eastern, southeastern, and southern parts of the country. However below-average snow depth anomalies persist at higher elevations in the northeast. The well distributed above-average snow depths have maintained average to above-average snow water volumes in most basins across the country.
    • Despite days of sub-freezing temperatures in some areas, the December precipitation and above-average moisture conditions during this period facilitated winter wheat planting in most areas. The focus is now on snowpack development in the coming months as it will determine water availability for irrigation during spring and summer.
    • Above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation are expected from January through March 2021 due to the prevailing La Niña conditions. As the snowpack development is expected to be below-average, the risk of flooding and landslides is expected to be less than usual.

    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

    Precipitation anomalies:

    The well distributed precipitation in December has resulted in favorable moisture conditions in the central highlands, central, eastern, northeastern, southeastern, and southern parts of the country. This not only enabled winter wheat planting but also created favorable moisture conditions for farmers to plant rainfed wheat. However, cumulative precipitation deficits are also present in areas bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan as of December 25 (Figure 1). Deficit-precipitation hotspots are evident in Jawzjan (25mm deficit) and Badakhshan (15mm deficit).

    Snow depth and snow water volume:

    Precipitation since mid-November has resulted in above-average snow depths at lower elevations in the central, northeastern, eastern, and southeastern parts of the country (Figure 2). On the other hand, below-average snow depth anomalies are seen over higher elevations in the northeast as of December 29. Average to above-average snow water volumes are observed in most basins except for below-average snow water volume in the Kokcha_Ab-i-Rustaq basin in the country. Figure 3 highlights close to maximum recorded snow water volume levels Hari Rod and Kunduz basins; average levels in Arghandab basin and below-average levels in Kokcha_Ab-i-Rustaq basin as of December 29.


    FORECAST

    Precipitation: 

    Figure 4 shows the Global Forecast System (GFS) 7-day total precipitation forecasts ending January 7, 2021 (left panel) and January 14, 2021 (right panel). Dry weather is expected across the country through January 14, 2021, which may hinder snowpack development if it extends into the second half of the January 2021.

    Temperatures:

    The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) forecast for January-March 2021 indicates relatively high probability of above-average temperatures across the country (Figure 5). The forecast of persistent above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation may have wide ranging consequences: reduced snowpack development, earlier than usual snowmelt, and reduced water for irrigated crops during spring, thus increasing the vulnerability of crops to temperature and moisture stresses.

    Figures This is a map of Afghanistan showing that precipitation of 10-100 mm above average has been received across much of the count

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    This is a map of Afghanistan showing that above average snow depth has been recorded in many central highland areas. However,

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/NASA

    These are four graphs showing the daily progression of snow water volume in million cubic meters in Arghandab, Hari Rod, Kokc

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/NASA

    These are maps of Afghanistan showing white covering nearly all of the country in both maps, indicating a high probability of

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

    Source: NOAA CPC

    This map of Afghanistan shows orange and red colors covering all of the country, except areas of the southwest, indicating a

    Figure 5

    Figure 5

    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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