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Despite a late start, cumulative rainfall in the Sahel is mostly average to above-average

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • October 28, 2021
Despite a late start, cumulative rainfall in the Sahel is mostly average to above-average

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The southward retreat of Intertropical Front (ITF) continues in a timely manner, which augurs a timely end of season in the region.

    • Despite long dry spells of over 15 days observed at the beginning (June-July) and toward the end (September) of the season in the Sahelian zone, crops will reach full maturity over most of the Sahelian zone in late September-early October.

    • Very severe September dryness affected areas in Mali and Niger are likely to suffer from crop pest attacks.

    • Persisting dryness in the area extending from Far North Cameroon to northern Chari Baguirmi in Chad is likely to affect crops and pastures performance.

    • The ITF continues its southward retreat and is located between 15.4 degrees of latitude north in eastern Chad and 19.5 degrees in Mauritania as of the second dekad of September. It is at or close to its climatological position over the whole region (Figure 1).
    • The end of the season in the Sahelian zone is nearing and the ITF being at its climatological position suggests the season end will be on time.   It also means crops will reach maturity over most places in the Sahelian zone.
    • Severe dryness in September has affected the Mopti region in Mali, part of Tillaberi, Tahoua and Maradi regions in Niger (Figure 2).  The southwestern part of the region of Mopti and the northeastern part of Segou in Mali and the Maradi region in Niger are, in addition to severe rainfall deficit, also affected by long dry spells of over 15 days.  The region of Tahoua only experienced rainfall severe deficits without dry spells.
    • September dryness normally creates favorable conditions for crop pest outbreaks.  Therefore, dryness affected areas of Mali and Niger are likely to suffer from crop pest attacks.
    • The seasonal cumulative rainfall from May 1st to September 25 has been above average over most of the region.  However, negative impact of dryness on crop and pasture development over areas where dryness has persisted for a very long time such as Far North Cameroon and Lake Chad is expected.

    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA-CPC, no rainfall in the Sahelian zone.  This means that the season will end in the Sahelian by early October.
    • The NOAA-CPC Northern American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) monthly forecast for October generally predict  below average rainfall over the Guinean and Sudano-Guinean zones.

    Figure 1

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

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

    Figure 1


    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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