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Precipitation in January reduced seasonal deficits, but high day time temperatures may melt seasonal snowpack earlier than usual

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • Enero 26, 2023
Precipitation in January reduced seasonal deficits, but high day time temperatures may melt seasonal snowpack earlier than usual

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    • Much of the country has experienced below-average cumulative precipitation from October 1, 2022, to January 20, 2023, although isolated parts of the country have received average to above-average precipitation since the beginning of January (Figure 1).
    • Below-normal snow depth persists over higher elevations in the northeast and central parts of the country. Above-normal snow depths are seen over medium elevations in western, central, and southern parts of the country as of January 23 (Figure 2).
    • Above-average snow water volumes were evident in some southern basins, while all other areas indicate below average snow water volumes as of January 23 (Figure 3).
    • The ECMWF precipitation forecast for January 23 – 30 indicates below-average precipitation across the country, while from January 30 to February 06 there are mainly chances of average precipitation with slightly below-average precipitation possible in parts of the central, northeast, and southeast. Spring wheat planting may be adversely affected if below-average precipitation conditions extend into February (Figure 4).
    • According to the latest NOAA advisory, a transition from La Niña to ENSO neutral conditions is anticipated during February-April period. Cumulative precipitation (October 2022 to February 2023) is most likely to be below average with areas of average scattered across the country.  Above average temperatures are expected in the period February–April 2023 (Figure 5).


    Current conditions:

    According to information provided by key informants, well distributed precipitation since the beginning of January, especially in the southwestern parts of the country, has reduced precipitation deficits that had persisted through the end of December 2022. Currently below average precipitation conditions interspersed with areas of average precipitation are observed in the country. Normally, land preparation for planting spring wheat at lower elevations begins with the help of precipitation from mid-February onward.


    Below-average precipitation conditions (60-90% of average) have dominated most of the northwestern, northern, and southern parts of the country from October 1, 2022 to January 20, 2023.  Average precipitation conditions have been observed in rest of the country during the same period (Figure 1).

    Snow depth and snow water volume:

    Below-normal snow depth is seen at higher elevations in the northeastern and central parts of the country while average to above-average snow depth is currently observed over medium elevations in the west, central, and southern parts of the country (Figure 2). Snow water volumes are accumulating in some southern basins and show average to above-average levels as of January 23. On the other hand, snow water volumes are observed to be below average in all other areas as of the reporting date. Figure 3 highlights the above average snow water volume in Arghandab, whereas Hari Rod, Kunduz and Kabul basins show below-average snow water volume as of January 23.



    ECMWF forecasts indicate below-average precipitation across the country during the week January 23 – 30, 2023 (Figure 4, left inset). On the other hand, there are chances of average precipitation over most parts of the country except in the central, northeast, and southeast areas for January 30 –February 06, 2023 (Figure 4, right inset). Land preparation and the planting activity within the spring wheat cultivating belt will be delayed if below-average precipitation conditions extend into February.


    The NMME forecast for February-April 2023 indicates a high probability of above-average temperature across the country. Persistent above-average temperatures may assist earlier-than-normal preparation for spring wheat planting in February 2023. On the other hand, above-average temperatures would initiate earlier than normal snowmelt runoff, thereby reducing water availability for crop use during spring and summer months. Chances of flash flooding in spring will depend on the extent of winter snow accumulation, spring rainfall, and temperature during the rest of the season.


    Figura 1

    Figure 1

    Fuente: UCSB/CHC

    Figura 2

    Figure 2

    Fuente: USGS/EROS

    Figura 3

    Figure 3

    Fuente: USGS/NASA

    Figura 4

    Figure 4

    Fuente: ECMWF

    Figura 5

    Figure 5

    Fuente: 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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