2.0 Climate Forecasts

CLIMATE FORECAST

The Climate Hazards Center (CHC) of the University of California Santa Barbara (https://www.chc.ucsb.edu/) provides GEOGLAM Crop Monitor with global and regional climate outlooks. These assessments are based on weather and seasonal climate forecasts from a variety of international and national sources. Regional climate outlooks in the CM4EW draw attention to abnormal rainfall and temperature conditions (observed and forecast) that may impact food production or pose other risks to society, with a focus on food insecure regions.

 

March 5th, 2020
PDF Download link

For previous reports visit the Archive.
 

Global Climate Outlook

Neutral ENSO

El Ni├▒o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are neutral and are most likely to remain neutral through June 2020.
 
 
East Africa Outlook:

Wet conditions are expected to continue into March across southern East Africa

Late January to late February was atypically wet in equatorial and southern areas of the region, both in terms of rainfall amounts and in terms of the number of days with rain. Affected areas were throughout Tanzania, in northeastern Zambia, in western and southern Kenya, parts of Uganda, and in southwestern Ethiopia (Figure-left).

Forecasts are showing wetter than average conditions through March in these areas. According to the two-week forecast issued on Feb 26th, surpluses could grow by large amounts in the Lake Victoria region, southern Kenya, much of Tanzania, and northeastern Zambia. If this occurs, January 26th to March 10th totals could be 100 mm to 300 mm above typical amounts in those areas (Figure-middle). The 30-day SubX model forecast (Figure-right) provides more indication that the recent wetter than average conditions could continue, particularly in Tanzania and southern Kenya. The 30-day forecast includes several models that show wet conditions continuing in mid and late March. One contributing factor for the enhanced rains may be warmer than normal sea surface temperatures that have persisted for months off the East Africa coast. According to seasonal forecasts released in early February, those warm temperatures may remain in place for several more months.

Responsive image

Figure caption: Estimated and forecast rainfall since January 26th and a 30-day forecast. All three maps depict rainfall in terms of the difference from average. On the left is the UCSB Climate Hazards Center Early Estimate for January 26th to February 25th, based on final CHIRPS for January and preliminary CHIRPS for Feb 1st to 25th. The middle panel is an extended outlook. It shows how the post-Jan 26 anomaly will change if the 14-day unbiased GEFS forecast from Feb 26th materializes. These compare 2020 rainfall amounts to the 1981-2019 CHIRPS average. On the right is a 30-day forecast from February 27th. The image shows the average across four Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) model forecasts available on that day. The anomaly is based on the 1999 to 2016 model average. Skill assessments of SubX can be accessed at http://cola.gmu.edu/kpegion/subx/index.html.

 

Southern Africa Outlook:

Below-average rainfall forecast for March across the central and south Southern Africa

During the past 30 days, the region had mixed rainfall patterns, with some of the largest surpluses in southwestern and eastern Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, northern Malawi, northern and western Mozambique, and in parts of central and northeastern South Africa (Figure-left). Areas with below-average past 30-day rainfall are in northern Namibia, eastern Mozambique, much of Madagascar, and in northeastern South Africa. Reports indicate that improved rainfall conditions since January allowed for better growing conditions and replanting in parts of Zimbabwe, where poor October to December rains posed challenges for earlier crop growth. According to Floodlist, the high rainfall in Tanzania in early February resulted in flooding in Lindi, Mwanza, Morogoro, and Manyara. In mid-February, drier than normal conditions affected southwestern Angola and northwestern Namibia, central and southern Mozambique, and parts of Zimbabwe and eastern South Africa.

Short and medium-term forecasts indicate that average to below-average conditions are likely to continue in central and southern areas of the region. Forecasts through March 10th show moderate to high probability of below-normal rainfall in Angola, southern Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar. During this period southern DRC, northeastern Zambia, northern Malawi, southern Tanzania (including Lindi), and northern Madagascar are forecast to receive above-average rainfall, which may increase risk of flooding. Figure (middle) depicts how this would impact January 26th to March 10th rainfall totals.

Longer-term forecasts, such as the 30-day SubX forecast (Figure-right) and NMME and WMO seasonal forecasts issued in early February (not shown) also portray a drier than average March to April in some earlier deficit areas. While there is considerable uncertainty, models tend to show most agreement in Madagascar, Mozambique, southern Malawi, central Zambia, parts of Zimbabwe, southwestern Angola, and western Namibia.

Replanting in Zimbabwe in mid-January presented some limited chances of slightly improved harvests, but predicted average to below-average rainfall for the remainder of the season would reduce chances for crop recovery in these areas.

Responsive image

Figure caption: Estimated and forecast rainfall since January 26th and a 30-day forecast. All three maps depict rainfall in terms of the difference from average. On the left is the UCSB Climate Hazards Center Early Estimate for January 26th to February 25th, based on final CHIRPS for January and preliminary CHIRPS for Feb 1st to 25th. The middle panel is an extended outlook. It shows how the post-Jan 26th anomaly will change if the 14-day unbiased GEFS forecast from Feb 26th materializes. These compare 2020 rainfall amounts to the 1981-2019 CHIRPS average. On the right is a 30-day forecast from February 27th. The image shows the average across four Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) model forecasts available on that day. The anomaly is based on the 1999 to 2016 model average. Skill assessments of SubX can be accessed at http://cola.gmu.edu/kpegion/subx/index.html.

Southeast Asia Outlook:

Below-average rains are forecast to continue in northern Southeast Asia through March while above-average rains in Indonesia may improve rainfall deficits

The extended outlook for January 26th to March 10th rainfall, based on preliminary data through February 25th and the two-week forecast issued on Feb 26th, depicts average to below-average rainfall in northern areas of Southeast Asia and average to above-average rainfall in southern Indonesia (Figure-left). Northern coastal Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and parts of southern Thailand may have deficits of 50 mm to higher than 100 mm during this period. This is in part due to anticipated below-average rainfall during the two-week forecast period. Several models show agreement for this near term dry signal. Some of the longer-range forecasts indicate this pattern may persist throughout March and April. The 30-day SubX forecast shows March rainfall totals as being mainly suppressed in southern Thailand and the Philippines (Figure-middle). In April, northern region areas of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos may also see drier than normal conditions, according to international model forecasts issued in early February (Figure-right).

Responsive image

Figure caption: Estimated and forecast rainfall since January 26th and forecasts for March and April 2020. Left and middle maps show rainfall in terms of the difference from average. On the left is an extended outlook for January 26th to March 10th. This UCSB Climate Hazards Center Early Estimate is based on final CHIRPS for January, preliminary CHIRPS for Feb 1st to 25th, and the 14-day unbiased GEFS forecast from Feb 26th. The anomaly is based on the 1981-2019 CHIRPS average. The middle panel a 30-day forecast from February 27th. The image shows the average across four Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) model forecasts available on that day. The anomaly is based on the 1999 to 2016 model average. Skill assessments of SubX can be accessed at http://cola.gmu.edu/kpegion/subx/index.html. The right panel shows the North American Multi Model Ensemble (NMME) probabilistic rainfall forecast for April 2020, released in early February 2020. Orange/red and green colors indicate the dominant tercile category (below-normal or above-normal) forecast by the NMME models, with the individual model forecasts judged according to their respective hindcasts. Color intensity shows the corresponding probability of the forecast. White color indicates where there is disagreement among models as to the most-likely tercile category. Original images are available at www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

For previous forecasts and assessments, please see the report archive page.