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Areas of dryness persist as main season harvest and second season planting near

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • June 6, 2018
Areas of dryness persist as main season harvest and second season planting near

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on seasonal progress
  • Key Messages
    • The October 2017- May 2018 wet season has concluded with well below average cumulative precipitation and record low snow accumulation in much of the country. Furthermore, above-average temperatures prevailed, with an earlier than normal snowmelt process.

    • Although several significant precipitation events during late spring helped alleviate dryness across the country, late rainfall was not sufficient to mitigate seasonal dryness in many parts of the country, which is most severe in the northwest but also significant across much of the north, northeast, southwest and central provinces. Field reports confirm that area planted for rainfed wheat is less than that of last year due to dry soil conditions and the use of extended areas for grazing, while a significant proportion of planted rainfed areas may have reduced yields due to dryness.

    • Snowmelt water availability has ended early in most basins, which is likely to adversely impact yields for some areas during the main season, and more broadly for second (dry) season irrigated production.

    • Forecasts indicate below-average to average precipitation while transitioning from spring to summer season. Along with cumulative precipitation deficits, the below-average forecast is reflective of a low frequency of storms entering the region, increasing the risk for extended periods of dryness that could impact agricultural production.


    Update on seasonal progress

    Precipitation anomalies:

    Several good successive precipitation events occurred during mid-May across much of central, northern, northeastern, and eastern Afghanistan. While these precipitation events triggered some flash flooding in Balkh and Takhar provinces, spring cumulative precipitation deficits exist in some areas, especially Jawzjan and Faryab provinces (Figure 1a). During the period of March through 30th of May, the winter seasonal precipitation deficit was reduced due to widespread precipitation in the northeastern and eastern provinces, more than 50 to 200 mm above normal. Seasonal precipitation deficits in the central and western provinces were mitigated to a lesser degree with 25 to 50 mm above normal precipitation during the same time.

    As the winter wet season (October—May) is ending, many areas are transitioning to the dry summer with less than 85 percent of normal seasonal cumulative precipitation in northern and southwestern provinces, with some areas in Faryab, Jawzjan, Balkh, and Nimroz provinces having less than 55–70 percent of normal (Figure 1b).

    Snowpack and snow water storage:

    Although mid-May precipitation events increased snow depth over some parts of the northeastern mountains (Figure 2), the snow cover has nearly disappeared except at very high elevation in the northeast. While these mid-May precipitation events, coupled with below-average temperature, supported an unusual increase in snow water storage over a few northeastern basins (Figure 3), the snowmelt has ended earlier than normal in most areas. Therefore, lack of available snowmelt water, especially in the southwestern basins, will adversely impact main season (April—May) irrigation and second season crops (Figure 4).   

    Temperatures:

    Average maximum temperature was well above-normal across the country for an extended period during March and early April. Since then, temperatures have been average to below average. However, they are expected to be well above-average again across the country in the coming months (June—August) (Figure 5). Additional snow at high elevation during mid-May and above-average temperatures raise the potential of flooding in the northeast. 

    Forecasts:

    The Global Forecast System indicates prevailing dry conditions across Afghanistan during the first two weeks of summer (ending on June 13) (Figure 6). As of the last week of May, the wet season has likely ended in many areas including much of the southwest, west, and northwest. Therefore, the rainfed wheat crop development, especially in the northwest, may experience unfavourable conditions while transitioning to summer. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    March 1 — May 30, 2018 percent of normal (1981—2010) precipitation accumulation.

    Figure 2

    March 1 — May 30, 2018 percent of normal (1981—2010) precipitation accumulation.

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    October 1, 2017—May 30, 2018 percent of normal (1981—2010) precipitation accumulation.

    Figure 3

    October 1, 2017—May 30, 2018 percent of normal (1981—2010) precipitation accumulation.

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    Snow depth difference from average in mm on May 31, 2018 (2002—2016 average).

    Figure 4

    Snow depth difference from average in mm on May 31, 2018 (2002—2016 average).

    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

    Daily progression of snow water volume in a southwestern basin of Afghanistan.

    Figure 6

    Daily progression of snow water volume in a southwestern basin of Afghanistan.

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Temperature forecast anomaly (June—August) over Afghanistan.

    Figure 7

    Temperature forecast anomaly (June—August) over Afghanistan.

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Week II (ending on June 13th) total precipitation in mm from Global Forecast System over Afghanistan.

    Figure 8

    Week II (ending on June 13th) total precipitation in mm from Global Forecast System over Afghanistan.

    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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