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September to December period constitutes the second major rainfall season in Uganda. During the 44th Climate Outlook Forum (COF44) for the Greater Horn of Africa that was held at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo from 29th to 30th August 2016, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the current state of the global climate systems and their implications on the seasonal rainfall over the east African region. It was observed that the major physical conditions that are likely to influence the evolution of weather conditions over Uganda and the rest of the region for the forecast period of September to December 2016 will be mostly La Niña conditions over equatorial eastern pacific Ocean that are predicted to persist during the rest of the 2016 and early months of 2017. It should be noted that when La Niña occurs, most parts of Uganda receive suppressed rainfall. Other conditions include:-

  1. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that has significant influence on regional climate is also predicted to be in the negative phase during the forecast period;
  2. The influence of regional circulation patterns, topographical features and large inland water bodies.

Based on the current La Niña conditions as well as details of the climatology and scientific tools for climate analysis, Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in the Ministry of Water and Environment, has come up with the detailed forecast as illustrated in the figure below:

IMPLICATIONS OF THE FORECAST

  1. The seasonal climate forecast for September to December 2016 indicates that there is an increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over several regions of the country. This implies that most regions of the country are expected to received the total rainfall that is below 75% of the long term mean (LTM) of the base period of 1981-2010.  Under this range there are high chances for socio-economic activities being stressed, the level of stress increasing with increasing rainfall deficiency. The areas that are likely to be more affected are those that lie along the Cattle Corridor of Uganda. Expected impacts include; water stress, shortage of pastures, Internal and cross-border conflicts, human and animal disease outbreaks, food insecurity leading to Poor Nutrition, possibility of diseases related to dry conditions such as meningitis and animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease, reduced water levels, Low discharges, drying up of acquifers and wetlands and reduced water availability.
  2. For the areas that have high chances of receiving near normal rains, means that the total rainfall expected will range between 75% to 125% of the long term mean (LTM) of the base period of 1981-2010. This range of rainfall is expected to adequately support the normal socio-economic activities for the various areas in those areas.
  3. The regions expected to receive near normal above normal rainfall, it implies that the total rainfall in those areas is expected to be above 125% of the long term mean (LTM) of the base period of 1981-2010. This means that the Impacts on socio-economic activities are mostly boosted especially in the modest degrees of above average for several areas. This is expected to be reflected in north-western and some parts of eastern regions.

 GENERAL ADVISORIES TO DIFFERENT SECTORS

REGIONS EXPECTING TO EXPERIENCE NEAR NORMAL TO BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL CONDITIONS

The Agricultural and food security Sector

Health sector 

Water and Energy sector 

REGIONS EXPECTING TO EXPERIENCE NEAR NORMAL CONDITIONS / TO ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL CONDITIONS

The Agricultural and food security Sector

Disaster risk management

Health sector

Water and Energy sector

In conclusion

The predicted seasonal patterns require action in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner so as to take advantage of the information. These forecast advisories should be used for planning across all economic sectors so as to improve economic welfare and livelihoods for all our communities in their localities.

UNMA has taken a further step of publishing this seasonal forecast in two major national daily newspapers and translating it into thirty five (35) different local languages for audio and text messages. These translated messages will be disseminated to communities in different parts of the country mainly using local FM radios and meetings/workshops.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority will continue to monitor the evolution of relevant weather systems particularly the state of the SSTs and issue appropriate updates and advisories to the users regularly

The accuracy of the seasonal climate forecast for this season 2016 is about 80%. It is supported by useful forecast guidance inputs drawn from a wide range of sources including the World Meteorological Organizations’ Global Producing Centres (WMO GPCs). These inputs were combined into a regional consensus forecast using deterministic and probabilistic modelling alongside expert analysis and interpretation to obtain the regional rainfall forecast for this season.