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31 May 2012


Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum

The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum predicts there may be near normal to above normal rainfall in parts of the region which have a rainy season in June to September.

The next three-months constitute an important rainfall season over the northern sector (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, northern and central Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan) and the western parts (southwestern Somalia) of the equatorial sector of the Greater Horn of Africa.

A consensus climate outlook issued 30 May indicated an “increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall over western and central areas of the northern sector as well as the western and coastal parts of the equatorial sector.” (see map)

For the rest of Greater Horn of Africa, June to August is a dry season and these areas are expected to remain generally dry during that period.

The 29-30 May meeting was organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), which is supported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In addition to climate experts, it was attended by representatives of health, disaster risk management, agriculture and water sectors and other user groups.

The next Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum at the end of August will consider the possible development of an El Niño event, which is often associated with droughts in the northern and southern sectors and above normal rainfall and floods in the equatorial parts in the October-February months. In its most recent Update, WMO said that during second half of 2012 a return of La Niña is unlikely, while neutral or El Niño conditions had equal chances of occurring. WMO is monitoring for signs of any potential El Niño, which refers to the periodic build-up of a large pool of unusually warm waters in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific.


In a Climate Watch report issued ahead of the meeting, ICPAC said the region had suffered a number of climate extremes. During 2010 and until October 2011, a large part of the region was under a severe drought. More recently, torrential rainfall has been received in the equatorial highlands. The rains started late (around mid April 2012) and have persisted into the second half of May 2012. Many parts of the region have however continued to be under drought stress.


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