Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rwanda: Climate expert says El Nino will not escalate in 7 Great Horn of Africa States

Although El Nino will continue to strengthen in the next few months,  this will not escalate into a worsening situation in seven members countries of the Great Horn of Africa (GHA) as the warming of the sea's surface in the Indian Ocean will decay, a senior weather expert said.

The temperature of the sea's surface in the Indian Ocean will not be warm enough to develop into a super El Nino, which needs 4 degree Celsius-rise in tropical Pacific and 2 degree-rise in the ocean along the equator, a senior researcher from the Kenya-based IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), Prof. Laban Ogallo, said.

ICPAC member countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda as well as Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Latest models results indicate that other negative effects of El Nino have been reported for other regions of the world, and of particular relevance is the unprecedented coral reef bleaching in the Indian Ocean and the tropical eastern and western Pacific. This has obvious fishery and environmental impacts for the areas concerned, Ogallo said.
Models knowledge and observatory analyses provide African scientists and policy makers with better understanding of the variability in the region.

He said El Nino is likely to reach a limited magnitude this year and last for few months, which is relatively habitual phenomenon.

A Super El Nino has only occurred three times in recent history, 1972, 1982 and 1997-1998, Ogalla said.

Since this year, El Nino has brought excess rainfall to several parts of southern and eastern areas in the summer months, while the northern region experienced severe drought.

To address some of these challenges, ICPAC receommend National Meteorological Services from the region to improve their capability to issue sub-national seasonal forecasts for their main agricultural areas, including realistic and reliable probabilities of occurrence.

This is because the Greater Horn of Africa region includes some of the most arid places in the world with the harsh environment and climate change vulnerability, he said.

Moreover, experts argue that as El Nino continue to develop, some of the expected consequences would materialize, while others will still not be verified since the existing monitoring system and tools for accessing information and knowledge on drought resilience and Disaster Risk Management in the Great Horn of Africa is still limited.

Weather predictions show that the northern/southern sector of Great Horn of Africa (GHA) will receive peak rainfall during the upcoming month of October and December.

The equatorial areas of the sub-region have two main rainfall peaks centered  around March-May and October-December each year, he said.

The enhanced rainfall during October to December tends to extend into the next year across many ICPAC member countries, the weather predictions report said.


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