Seasonal Monitor

Well distributed precipitation at peak of winter wet season has improved snowpack significantly

January 27, 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 was observed across the country during October 1, 2019 through January 20, 2020 except in the border areas with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China between northwestern Badghis to northeastern Badakhshan provinces. Above average temperatures have also been observed across the country except in central Afghanistan during the same period.

  • Consistent widespread precipitation since mid-December 2019 has resulted in significant increases in the snow water volumes in all basins across Afghanistan except in Balkhab, Khanabad, Khulm, Kunduz, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, Sari Pul and Panj.

  • The forecast of heavy precipitation through the end of January in basins with deficit snow water volumes may bring the corresponding snow water volumes to near average levels. This bodes well for the growth of irrigated crops in the main growing season.

  • Above average temperatures are expected during March through May. There is a possibility of an elevated flooding risk in the eastern, central, and western Afghanistan as the forecasted above average temperatures may cause early season snowmelt of above average precipitation received in January.

UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

Precipitation anomalies:

During the period from October 1 through January 20, above average cumulative precipitation anomalies have been observed across Afghanistan while some localized areas in Balkhab, Jawzjan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces have been slightly below average cumulative precipitation (Figure 1). While it is important to closely monitor the provinces with precipitation deficits, the above average precipitation patterns bode well for spring and summer agriculture in the rest of the country.

Snowpack and snow water volume:

Widespread and heavy precipitation in January has led to significant buildup of snowpack in the eastern, central, southern, southwestern, and western basins of the country. On the other hand, slightly below average snow depth anomalies are still seen in some localized areas of the Balkhab, Khanabad, Khulm, Kunduz, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, Sari Pul and Panj basins adjoining Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan (Figure 2). It can be observed that the pattern of above average snow water volumes in the central, eastern, western and southern basins and the below average snow water volumes in the northern basins mirrors the current distribution of precipitation across Afghanistan. Currently the snow water volumes are at record maximum level in Arghandab basin, above average level in Hari Rod basin; at average level in Balkhab basin and near record minimum level in Khanabad basin (Figure 3).

FORECAST

Precipitation: 

According to the Global Forecast System 7-day total precipitation forecast, weather is expected to be dry across the entire country in the week ending February 3 (Figure 4). Well distributed 15-30 mm precipitation is expected in parts of Badakhshan, Badghis, Balkh, Faryab, Jawzjan, Kunduz, Sari Pul and Takhar provinces while dry weather is forecast across the rest of the country in the week ending February 10.

Continued heavy precipitation through the end of January may most likely prolong above average snow water volume in southern Afghanistan. In addition, the anticipated precipitation in the second and third weeks of February may improve the snow water volume to near average levels in northern Afghanistan.

In general, the forecasted above average precipitation will provide sufficient moisture conditions for normal growth of irrigated and rain fed crops during March through June. However, below average precipitation in February in the northern basins with deficit snow water volumes may adversely impact the cultivation of spring and summer crops, and pastures during March through June.

Temperatures:

The North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecast for March-May 2020 continues to indicate relatively high probability of above average temperatures across the country (Figure 5). The forecast of persistent above average temperatures will likely benefit winter and spring wheat during this period. In addition, the expected above average temperature is likely to initiate snowmelt earlier than normal. Although the early snowmelt may help greening up of pastures sooner but may face the risk of running out of snowmelt water for spring irrigation. On the other hand, the above average snow water volume, the above average temperatures, and the anticipated precipitation in February are also likely to elevate the risk of flooding especially in central, eastern, southern, and southwestern parts of the county in coming months.

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. Read more about our work.

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