Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Poor Spring Rain Projected in Africa

13.04.2012
Spring rains in the eastern Horn of Africa are projected to begin late this year and be substantially lower than normal.
From March–May, the rains are expected to total only 60 to 85 percentage of the average rainfall in this region. This is a significant deterioration compared to earlier forecasts.

Lower rain amounts would have significant impacts on crop production, rangeland regeneration for livestock, and replenishment of water resources.

This would put greater stress on the region, particularly Somalia which is still recovering from a famine declared last year, as well as Kenya and Ethiopia which also experienced a severe food crisis. An increase in food insecurity and in the size of the food insecure population is likely.

The State Department released a statement on this forecast and their intent to provide additional funding to aid refuges and drought-affected communities.

Famine Early Warning Systems Network

The rainfall projections were completed by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which helps target more than $1.5 billion of assistance to more than 40 countries each year. FEWS NET monitors high risk areas of the developing world with the most food insecurity, identifying critical situations in which food aid will be needed.

FEWS NET is sponsored and led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Food for Peace. Implementing partners include the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Chemonics International, Inc., National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USGS Science

A herder moves cattle through a barren landscape in eastern Africa.
The USGS led the climate analysis for the recent FEWS NET rainfall projection.

“Rainfall projections were estimated by looking very closely at all the prior droughts from March–May since 1979 in the eastern Horn of Africa,” said USGS scientist Chris Funk, who led this research. “We found that sea surface temperatures in the western/central Pacific and the Indian oceans are key drivers of rainfall during that time period. So we compared sea surface temperatures from past years to March 2012, and developed an updated rainfall forecast for this spring season.”

Climate modeling analysis was done in collaboration with others, including Greg Husak and Joel Michaelsen with the Climate Hazards Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as Bradfield Lyon at The International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Lyon’s research identified the important role of the Pacific Ocean in recent droughts.

The USGS also contributes satellite remote sensing data and analysis of vegetation and rainfall to support FEWS NET activities throughout the world. Remote sensing from space allows scientists to provide rapid, accurate assessments of a broad range of environmental and agricultural conditions. A newly completed vegetation monitoring system allows FEWS NET analysts to track conditions across all of Africa in tremendous detail.

“The concerning picture that emerged from FEWS NET climate monitoring services was that despite the good rains of the past winter, the situation east Africa has deteriorated very rapidly, to a point that the water deficits and vegetation health looked as bad as this time last year,” said Funk.

Link between Sea Surface Temperatures and Rainfall

As the globe has warmed over the last century, the Indian and central/western Pacific oceans have warmed particularly fast. USGS scientists found that the warming of these oceans affects rainfall over large areas of the Horn of Africa.

The resulting warmer air and increased humidity over the Indian and Pacific oceans produce more frequent rainfall over the oceans. The air then rises over the equatorial Indian and Pacific oceans, and flows westward, descending over Africa. Since the air has already lost moisture from rainfall over the oceans, this leads to decreased rain amounts in parts of eastern Africa. Trends toward increased frequency of drought that we are seeing now appear likely to continue into the future as warming continues.

“Essentially, our research has progressed to the point where we can recognize fairly well the climate patterns linked to the recent droughts, and we hope this helps identify potential bad seasons in advance to raise awareness,” said Funk.

Jessica Robertson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usgs.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks
18.06.2018 | Kyushu University, I2CNER

nachricht Decades of satellite monitoring reveal Antarctic ice loss
14.06.2018 | University of Maryland

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>