June 2009

Rainfall prediction and socio-economic implications for Nigeria in 2009

by Nigeria Meteorological Agency


Every year the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) produces and issues Rainfall Prediction for Nigeria. This exercise is in pursuance of the Agency’s mandate of advising Government on all aspects of meteorology. In Nigeria, as in other sub-Saharan countries, rainfall is the key factor that determines yields and success of the other socio-economic activities. The annual Rainfall Prediction conforms with the WMO Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS) project, which forms part of NIMET’s effort to provide scientific information on weather for planning and decision-making in agriculture, water resources management, hydro-electric power generation, as well as other sectors of the national economy.

The prediction is based on regional climate modeling, which places emphasis on the strong tele-connections between El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and sea-surface temperature anomalies in Nigerian rainfall. This prediction was constructed by running a daily crop ecological model, with maize as a test crop, for each year of historical weather data from 1971 to 2006 under the influence of such a neutral El Niño Phase as predicted in the WMO El Niño update of February 2009.

The 2009 public presentation brought together the State Meteorological Inspectors (the link between meteorology and agriculture in states) from the 36 states of the Nigerian federation, state commissioners for agriculture across the country, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, representatives of farmers’ unions, WMO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, government agricultural extension agencies, representatives of centres of learning and individuals. 

group photo Opening ceremony M. Boulama, WMO Representative for North, Central and West Africa (far left): Anthony Anuforom, Director General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (fourth from left); Alhaji Idris Kuta, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, representing the Minister in Charge of Meteorology (sixth from left). Others include Chairman of the Senate House Committee on Aviation; Deputy Governor of Sokoto State; Chairman, Senate House Committee on Culture and Tourism; and Minster of Agriculture and Water Resources. 

The 2009 Rainfall Prediction for Nigeria consisted of the onset date, cessation date, and the length of the rainy/growing season and total annual rainfall. The earliest onset of the rainy season was between 18 February and 10 April with a duration ranging from 220 to 260 days in the southern part of the country. The latest onset was between 20 May and 20 June in central to extreme northern parts with a duration ranging from 100 to 180 days. In addition, the implications of the expected rainfall pattern for key socio-economic sectors such as agriculture, water resources, energy, transportation, construction, infrastructural development were critically assessed.

The dates of the onset, cessation and length of the rainy season in Nigeria in 2009 were generally predicted to be near-normal although the onset phase was expected to be early in most states. While 2009 was predicted to have a favourable cropping season, the impacts of rainstorms may be severe in the southern part and affect river catchment and dam basins in the north. Coastal belts was expected to be dominated by varying degrees of severe rainstorms at the onset and end of rains. On the other hand, the north will experience some freak storms that could be severe in some areas with prevalent moisture surplus in river catchment basins and dams throughout the season.


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