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Continued average to above-average rainfall is providing good growing conditions

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • August 5, 2016
Continued average to above-average rainfall is providing good growing conditions

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • Total seasonal rainfall is average to above-average over the entire region and all agro-ecological zones (Figures 1 and 2).

    • Slight rainfall deficits are concentrated in certain areas of the bi-modal zone, southern Nigeria and isolated areas in the western Sahel (central Senegal and southwestern Mali); however, these deficits should not adversely affect crop development unless they persist.

    • The medium-term forecast for the next two weeks ( and ) calls for moderate to heavy rains over the entire region, an indication of continued favorable agricultural conditions. However, this rainfall forecast includes locust breeding areas in Mali and Niger, which could create favorable conditions for locust breeding.


    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The Intertropical Front’s (ITF) northward migration continues and during the third dekad of July, it is located north of its climatological position over Mauritania, Mali and Niger and at its climatological position over Chad (Figure 4).   This has brought average to above-average rainfall to all agro-ecological zones including the bi-modal zone and the western Sahel (northwestern Senegal and southwestern Mali) where deficits observed during the last few dekads have mostly been reversed.
    • Rainfall is currently subsiding in the bi-modal zone with the beginning of the period known as the “minor dry season,” which normally takes place in August.  Consequently, below-average rainfall conditions during this time period in the bi-modal zone are consistent with normal seasonal tendencies.
    • The above-average rainfall in the northern Sahel and Saharan zone has resulted in:
      • Favorable crop and pasture conditions
      • Earlier than normal planting in the northernmost part of the agricultural zone (Figure 3).
      • Suitable conditions for locust breeding

    Forecasts
    • According to NOAA/CPC’s short and medium-term forecasts, rainfall will continue to progress northward, as its position is seasonally normal in its eastern segment and north of normal position in its western segment. This forecast calls for moderate to heavy rains throughout the region for the next two weeks (Aug 5-11 and Aug 12-18) with no expected dry spells.
    • For the next several three month periods (July-September, August-October, and September-November), seasonal forecasts from the major meteorological centers (IRI, ECMWF, NOAA-NCEP, UKMO) call for average to above-average rainfall over most of the Sahel from Chad to eastern Mali but below-average rainfall for the bi-modal zone and the western Sahel (Senegal, Mauritania).
    Figures Figure 1: Total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm, 1stdekad of April - 3rd dekad of July

    Figure 1

    Figure 1: Total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm, 1stdekad of April - 3rd dekad of July

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2: Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2006-2015 mean, 1st dekad of April - 3rd dekad of July

    Figure 2

    Figure 2: Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2006-2015 mean, 1st dekad of April - 3rd dekad of July

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3: Start of Season (SOS) anomaly, 3rd dekad of July

    Figure 3

    Figure 3: Start of Season (SOS) anomaly, 3rd dekad of July

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4: Intertropical Front (ITF) position compared to climatological average in 3rd dekad of July

    Figure 4

    Figure 4: Intertropical Front (ITF) position compared to climatological average in 3rd dekad of July

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 4

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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