By Gerald Tenywa
IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) has announced that the October to December 2022 forecast shows high chances of drier than average conditions across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa.
In particular, the drought-affected regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are
expected to receive insufficient rainfall until the end of the year.
These parched conditions are likely to extend to parts of Eritrea, most of Uganda and Tanzania, whereas Djibouti, the eastern Afar region of Ethiopia, and central to northeastern South Sudan could receive above average precipitation.
Temperatures are expected to remain warmer than average across most of the region.
The eight nations that are part of IGAD are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Dr. Guleid Artan, ICPAC’s director, reiterated the importance of the October to December season in the equatorial parts of the Greater Horn of Africa, where it contributes up to 70% of the annual total rainfall, particularly in eastern Kenya.
It pains me to be the bearer of bad news, when millions of people in the region have already suffered the longest drought in 40 years,” he said.
“Sadly, our models show with a high degree of confidence that we are entering the fifth consecutive failed rainy season in the Horn of Africa. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, we are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”
The severity of the situation was echoed by Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD’s executive secretary.
He said: “A month ago, with our partners FAO and WFP, we told the world that 50 million people are expected to face high levels of acute food insecurity this year across seven IGAD countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda).
“Today, considering this grim climate forecast, conflicts in the region and in Ukraine, and macroeconomic challenges, I solemnly renew our call to national governments, donors, humanitarian, and development actors to adopt a no-regret strategy and help us weather the worst of this crisis.”
ICPAC also estimates that the start of the rainy season is likely to be delayed across much of the eastern parts of the region, including southern Ethiopia, central and southern Somalia, eastern Kenya, much of Burundi, and Tanzania.
On the other hand, parts of northern Somalia, western Kenya, Uganda, eastern South Sudan, Rwanda, and northern Tanzania are indicated to experience a normal to early onset.
ICPAC is a designated Regional Climate Centre by the World Meteorological Organization.
Its seasonal forecast is based on an analysis of several global climate model predictions customized for the Greater Horn of Africa.
In this instance, seven out of the eight models used by ICPAC’s scientists indicate a drier October to December 2022 season, thus increasing the reliability of the forecast.