6 September 2016

Namibia: Rain Prospects - the Good, the Bad, and the Not So Pretty

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Windhoek — Drought-stricken Namibia cannot expect any great shakes on the dawn of the new rain season and will probably have to do with normal to slightly above-normal rainfall for the periods from October to December this year and January to March 2017.

According to the just-ended 20th annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum in Harare, Zimbabwe the bulk of Southern African Development Community (SADC) is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for most of the said period.

It concludes that there is a 25 percent probability of rainfall occurring in the above-normal category, a 40 percent probability in the normal category and 35 percent probability in the below-normal category for Namibia.

Northernmost Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), northern Angola, most of Tanzania, northern Mozambique, the island states of Seychelles and eastern-most Madagascar are more likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall for most of the season.

Climate scientists from the SADC National Meteorological and/or Hydrological Services, the SADC Climate Services Centre formulated the latest projections.

Additional inputs were obtained from global climate prediction centres, including theEuropean Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Beijing Climate Centre, Korea Meteorological Administration, Météo-France and Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Korea Meteorological Agency, Japan Meteorological Agency and the UK Met Office.

Using statistical and other climate prediction methods and expert interpretation, the climate scientists determined likelihoods of above-normal, normal and below-normal rainfall for each area (See Figures 1 to 4) for overlapping three-monthly periods, i.e. October-November-December, November-December-January; December-January-February; and January/February/March.

The climate scientists took into account oceanic and atmospheric factors that influence the climate of the SADC region. In particular, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation is foreseen to be shifting from the warm, through neutral to cold phase, also referred to as La Niña, during the bulk of the rainfall season.

The period October to March is the main rainfall season over most of southern Africa, including Namibia.

The good news is that the bulk of Namibia, Central Mozambique, southern Malawi, northern half of Zimbabwe, most of Zambia, southernmost DRC, south-eastern half of Angola, the western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa, as well as western parts of Lesotho have increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall, while the Zambezi Region, south-easternmost Angola, the south-western half of Zimbabwe and eastern half of Botswana, most of northern South Africa, Swaziland and southern Mozambique will have increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall

The bad news is that the western coastal areas of Namibia and South Africa have increased chances of normal to below-normal rainfall in the first part of the season.

The bulk of Angola, most of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa can look forward to increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall in the second half of the season.

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