By Robert Kumwenda
Malawi is expected to receive normal rainfall amounts in most parts according to the department of climate change and meteorological services.
Jolamu Nkhokwe who is the Director in the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services said the period, October to April marks the beginning of the official monitoring of rainfall season in the country.
He said the main rains are expected to be experienced from November in the south and progressively spreading northwards.
“During this period, the main rain bearing systems that influence rainfall over Malawi like the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), Congo air mass, Easterly Waves and Tropical Cyclones and Global models are currently projecting neutral EL NINO Oscillation (ENSO) conditions between September 2019 and January 2020 which are likely to persist throughout the 2019/20 rainfall season,” he said.
He said a neutral ENSO phenomenon is a condition of neither EL Nino which is unusual warming of waters over the Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean, nor La Nina which is unusual cooling of waters over the Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean which are known to influence rainfall patterns across the World including Southern Africa and Malawi.
“Based on the analyses from the climate experts in Malawi, with additional input from the climate experts meeting and 23rd Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-23) that took place in Luanda Angola, indicating that: during October to December 2019, most parts of the north and northern parts of the central areas of the country are expected to receive normal to below rainfall amounts; while during January to March 2020, most of the north and northern parts of central areas of the country are expected to receive above normal to normal rainfall amounts, while southern areas and southern parts of central areas are expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall amounts,” he said.
Nkhokwe said this implies that impacts associated with increased or reduced rainfall amounts leading to floods or prolonged dry spells to various social-economic sectors such as agriculture, water resources, disaster management, and energy are likely to occur in some parts of the country.
It should be noted that the forecast is relevant for relatively large areas and seasonal time scales and therefore may not fully account for all factors that influence localized climate variability, such as daily, weekly and month to month variations, he said.
“In this regard, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) will also issue downscaled district forecast. In addition, the DCCMS will continuously issue seasonal updates, including, ten day agro- meteorological bulletins, weekly, forecasts, five –day and daily forecast,” he said.
He further said that will continue to monitor and issue advisories on the development of the tropical cyclones adding that users from the agriculture are encouraged to seek advice from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development when applying this forecast in decision making such as when to plant.