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For the 2022-23 growing season, below average seasonal rainfall, snowpack, and vegetation conditions are likely to result in negative impacts to agriculture and pasture conditions

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • June 22, 2023
For the 2022-23 growing season, below average seasonal rainfall, snowpack, and vegetation conditions are likely to result in negative impacts to agriculture and pasture conditions

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • 2022/23 wet season precipitation (October 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023) was below average across most of the country with localized areas of near-average precipitation in central, southern, and eastern parts of the country (Figure 1).

    • Vegetation in northern, western, central, and southwestern parts of the country continue to reflect below-average vegetation condition as of June 20, 2023 (Figure 2). This is mainly due to below-average precipitation during the 2022/23 wet season, below-average snow water volumes, earlier than normal snow melt, and below-normal soil moisture.

    • Snow water volume in Panj, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, and Kabul basins is below average and close to record minimums as of the reporting date, but better than last year (Figure 3). Snow water volumes in most other basins were closer to or at record minimum since late March.

    • The ECMWF precipitation forecast for June 19 – 26, 2023, indicates below-average precipitation except in the central and southern parts where there is no tilt towards either above- or below-average precipitation. During the week of June 26 – July 3, 2023, below-average precipitation is forecasted in localized areas in the northeast and southwest (Figure 4). It is also important to note that significant precipitation does not occur during this period.

    • Both the NMME  and C3S forecast above-average temperatures across the country during July - September 2023 (Figures 5 & 6).

    • As per the latest NOAA Advisory, the onset of El Niño is indicated with the expectation that it will gradually strengthen and persist into 2024 (94% chance).


    Update on Seasonal Progress

    Figure 1

    CHIRPS seasonal precipitation percent of average
    Map showing percent of normal precipitation for Afghanistan

    Source: UCSB CHC

    Figure 2

    eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly
    Map of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index showing vegetation conditions.  Described in key messages.

    Source: USGS EROS

    Current conditions

    As per the key informants, below-average precipitation in the northern and western parts of the country during late April and May has resulted in moisture stress in irrigated and rainfed wheat that has not yet been harvested and in the rangelands. Based on reports from the field, the wheat production this year is expected to be below average.  Second season cultivation is most likely to be adversely affected due to below-average water availability in different basins and over-use of groundwater for wheat cultivation in the recently concluded season.

    Precipitation

    At the conclusion of 2022-23 wet season, a northern area from Herat in the west to Kunduz in the east received precipitation between 60 to 75 percent of the average while precipitation deficits between 75 to 90 percent of the average persisted across most of the country. There are some localized areas with near-average precipitation as of the reporting date (Figure 1). Below-average precipitation after mid-April led to the development of moisture stress in the wheat cultivating areas in the northern, central, and western parts of the country as of the reporting date.

    Snow depth and snow water volume

    Below-normal snowpack development has been observed over higher elevations throughout 2022-23 season and above-average temperatures since mid-February have led to earlier-than-normal snowmelt in the northern, western, and southern basins. Currently, below-normal snow water volumes are seen in Khanabad, Kokcha_Ab-i-Rustaq, Panj, and Kabul basins are either below-average or close to record minimum as of June 16, 2023 (Figure 3) whereas the snow water volumes in other basins had already reached zero level by the end of April. Although current reservoir water availability is not as bad as last year, the over-use of groundwater for first crop cultivation together with below-average snow water volumes in the eastern basins may adversely affect the second crop cultivation in the country.

    Figure 3

    Snow water volume during 2022-23 (red line), historical average (blue line), 2021-2022 (gray line) in Kabul, Khanabad, Kokcha_Ab-I-Rustaq, and Panj basins as of June 16
    Graphs showing time series of snow water volumes for four drainage basins

    Source: USGS/NASA


    Forecast

    Precipitation

    The ECMWF forecasts higher probability of below-average precipitation in the eastern, northeastern, central, southwestern parts of the country while there is no tilt towards above- or below average precipitation in the rest of the country during the week June 19 – 26, 2023, (Figure 4, left inset). During June 26 - July 3, 2023, below average precipitation may be expected in isolated pockets in northeast and southwest (Figure 4, right inset). Given below-average precipitation and hydrological drought conditions prevailing in the country, there is less than normal chance of widespread flooding although there is a chance of isolated flash floods due to earlier than normal peaking of snowmelt runoff in the eastern and northeastern basins in the country.

    Figure 4

    Weekly mean precipitation forecasts made on June 18, 2023
    Maps showing weekly precipitation anomalies for each of the next two weeks. Dry conditions prevail.

    Source: ECMWF forecast system

    Temperature

    The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME, Figure 5) and Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S, Figure 6) forecasts for July – September, 2023 generated in June 2023 indicate high probability of above average temperatures across the country. Second crop cultivation and rangeland vegetation may be adversely affected during this period due to the combination of high temperatures and hydrological drought conditions for the third consecutive year.

    Figure 5

    North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) temperature forecast for July-September 2023.
    Map of NMME temperature forecast for July - September 2023 showing above average temperatures.

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 6

    Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) temperature forecast for July-September 2023.
    ECMWF three-month temperature forecast for July, August, September of 2023 showing above average temperatures.

    Source: Copernicus Climate Change Service

    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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