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Poor rainfall across parts of the Sahelian zone will likely cause planting delays in some areas

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • July 1, 2015
Poor rainfall across parts of the Sahelian zone will likely cause planting delays in some areas

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • As the Intertropical Front continues its northward migration over the region it still remains south of its climatological position resulting in below average rainfall over large portions of the Sahelian zone.

    • Parts of the area affected by significant planting delays (northern Benin, Togo and southwestern Burkina Faso in particular) continue to be affected by below-average and poorly distributed rainfall resulting in unfavorable cropping conditions early in the season.

    • In June crops continue to benefit from generally well distributed and average to above average rainfall in the Bi-modal zone and southern Guinean-Sudanian zone.

    • Given the favorable medium term forecasts, planting activities are expected to continue into the Sahelian zone.


    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) continues its northward migration bringing rainfall to much of the Sahelian zone in June. However, its northward progression is still slower than normal, and in the third week of June it remained south of its climatological position over most of the region.
    • The slow northward migration of the ITF resulted in below-average rainfall over central and northwestern Mali, southern Mauritania and Senegal, most of Niger, northwestern and central-north Nigeria, Burkina Faso, northern Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Cameroon. In these areas planting delays are likely to occur in areas where the start of season is delayed or will be aggravated in areas where the season has already started.
    • In the Bi-modal and the Guinean-Sudan zone rainfall totals in June have been generally average to above average with good temporal distribution providing for favorable cropping conditions for the long season.
    • Warmer Gulf of Guinea Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are known to weaken rainfall accumulation over Sahelian West Africa, but are favorable for rainfall over southern coastal areas. Gulf of Guinea SSTs have started cooling over the past several weeks as predicted by most climatology models. If this cooling trend continues, rainfall over the Sahelian zone could be expected to improve.

    Forecasts
    • Most forecast models indicate El Niño will continue through the northern hemisphere summer. El Niño generally correlates with suppressed rainfall over the Sudanian-Sahelian zone and favorable conditions in the Bi-modal and Sudanian-Guinean zone, but this correlation is known to be weak. The Gulf of Guinea SSTs, however, constitute the strongest driver of the spring and summer weather pattern in West Africa. According to forecasts, the recently observed Gulf of Guinea cooling trend will continue through the summer, which can be associated with penetration of the monsoon northward in continent.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, rainfall is expected to continue the next two weeks without any atypical dryness, with rains extending northward through most of the Sudanian-Sahelian zone.
    Figures Figure 1.Total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm, 1st and 2nddekad of June

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2. Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2010-2014 mean, 1st and 2nddekad of June

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    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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