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The season is progressing well with mostly average to above-average rainfall except for areas like southern Mali and northeastern Nigeria

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • August 14, 2023
The season is progressing well with mostly average to above-average rainfall except for areas like southern Mali and northeastern Nigeria

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year
  • Key Messages
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) continued its northward ascent, located north of its normal position during the 3rd dekad of July throughout the region.

    • July severe rainfall deficits experienced in southern Mali and northeastern Nigeria are likely to result in cereal crop production shortfall.

    • The main season harvest has practically ended in the bimodal zone, where average to above-average harvest is expected

    Update on Seasonal Progress

    Figure 1

    CHIRPS 24-pentad Percent-of-Average Rainfall (Period: 01April - 31July)
    CHIRPS 24-pentad Percent of Average Rainfall (period: 01Apr-31Jul)

    Source: CHC/UCSB

    1. The Intertropical Front (ITF) continued progressing in its northward ascent and is getting closer to its northernmost position. It was located south of its average position over Mali and Mauritania, around average over Niger and north of average over Chad during the third dekad of July 2023. Its dekadal average position during the third dekad of July varied between 16.4°N over at 15°W and 19.3°N at the Greenwich meridian. Seasonal cumulative rainfall (Figure 1) has been average to above-average over most of the region. Deficits during the 01 April-31 July 2023 period were mostly light to moderate.
    2. Crops and pastures in the northern part of the Sahelian zone are most sensitive to dryness in July because of a short growing season of 3 months or a little less. Areas affected by severe to very severe deficit (Figure 2 and Figure 3) during this month that could hinder crop development and result in production shortfall included: the states of Yobe and Borno in northeastern Nigeria, Diffa region in eastern Niger, Far-North Cameroon, the western part of Hadjer Lamis and Lac regions in Chad, parts of the provinces of Oudalan, Soum and Seno in northeastern Burkina Faso, the extreme southeastern part of Mauritania, the northern part of Koulikoro and Segou regions in Mali. However, these regions have not experienced extended dry spells, which would potentially exacerbate the impacts of the deficits. These areas will be closely monitored till the end of the season.
    3. Moderate and/or severe deficits also affected areas in the southern part of the Sahelian zone, the Sudano-Guinean zone and the bimodal zone. Such areas included the southern part of the regions of Koulikoro and Segou and the region of Sikasso in Mali, eastern Guinea and the states of Gombe, and Bauchi in Nigeria. In general, the impact of July dryness on crops and pastures in these areas is not significant unless the season ends earlier than normal, so close attention should continue to be paid to these regions.
    4. The bimodal zone of southern Cameroon and that of the Gulf of Guinea countries also experienced long dry spells compounded with severe rainfall deficits (Figure 3). These, however, were just a manifestation of the minor dry season.
    5. Apart from the aforementioned areas that experienced moderate to severe rainfall deficits, the 2023 growing season has been, in general, progressing well. The major season in the bimodal zone has ended in July and the harvest is expected to be at least average. Moisture conditions in the Guinean-Sudanian and the Sahelian zones have been adequate to meet crop requirements so far. Combined with the favorable seasonal rainfall forecasts, this is expected to be a good growing season.

    Figure 2

    CHIRPS July 2023 Percent-of-Average Rainfall
    CHIRPS July 2023 Percent of Normal Rainfall

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    Figure 3

    July Combined CHIRPS anomaly-CDD
    July Combined CHIRPS anomaly-CDD

    Source: CHC/UCSB

    • According to the short- and medium-term forecasts from NOAA-CPC and CHC-UCSB rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward normally and no significant dry spells are expected within the next few weeks.
    • The NOAA-CPC Northern American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME), the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Lead Center Multi-Model Ensemble, and the C3S (Copernicus Climate Change Service) seasonal forecasts for the next two three-month periods (August-October and September-November) generally predict average to above-average seasonal rainfall conditions over most of the region.

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year
    West Africa Seasonal Calendar

    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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