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Mostly normal start of season with average to above average and well distributed rainfall

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • May 31, 2022
Mostly normal start of season with average to above average and well distributed rainfall

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  • Key Messages
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • FORECASTS
  • Key Messages
    • The ITF (Intertropical Front) continued its northward migration; it was located slightly north of its climatological position in Chad and Senegal but at 1-2 degrees of latitude south of it in the rest of the region in late May (Figure 1).

    • Rainfall has been average to above average over most of the area south of the ITF position (Figure 2).

    • Globally, the season has started 1-2 dekads earlier than average over the region (Figure 3).

    • Agrometeorological conditions have generally been favorable since early April for normal development of planted crops in the bi-modal zone and in the Sudanian-Guinean zones except for its extreme western part. 


    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
    • The ITF’s (Intertropical Front) northward migration started in early March and is now positioned between 12.1 and 14.3 degrees of latitude, as of mid-May.  It was located (1-2 degrees) south of its climatological position from the western border of Mali to the western border of Chad (Figure 1).  The ITF lag with respect to its normal position in this area has been consistently observed during the last 3 dekads.  However, based on SST (Sea Surface Temperature) forecast, colder SSTs are expected to persist over the Gulf of Guinea. This cooling is known to be the main driver of the ITF’s northward migration, which is expected to continue to be at least normal.
    • Analysis of rainfall from the first pentad of April to the fourth pentad of May indicates:
      • average to above average (Figure 2) and well distributed in time rainfall over most of the bimodal zone and over the Sudanian-Guinean zone, with the exception of its extreme western part, where the season has yet to start.
      • severe rainfall deficits over areas north of the ITF position in both the extreme western part of the Sudanian-Guinean zone and the Sahelian zone, where the season has yet to start (Figure 3).
    • Rainfall and soil moisture analysis generally indicate that agrometeorological conditions have been adequate and favorable for the development of planted crops over the bimodal and Sudanian-Guinean zones as well as the southern part of the Sahelian zone where the season has just started.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward normally and no significant dry spell is expected within the next two weeks.  The ITF is expected to make significant progress in its northward migration in the coming weeks.

    FORECASTS
    • The seasonal forecast from NOAA-NCEP for the next three-month periods (June-August, July-September and August-October) calls for average to above average rainfall over all the Sahelian zone and below average rainfall over portions of the Gulf of Guinea countries (eastern Guinea, western Liberia, Sierra Leone, southeastern Cote d’Ivoire, southern parts of Ghana, Togo and Benin, western and southern Nigeria and southern Cameroon) for all three periods (June-August, July-September, August-October).

    Figures West Africa seasonal calendar  In the North, Main season cultivation is from mid-May to mid-August. Main harvest is from mid-

    Figure 4

    SEASONAL CALENDAR FOR A TYPICAL YEAR

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/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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