Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 4 February 2013
The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre shows that sea surface temperatures (SST) in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean are increasingly below average reaching -0.6o Celsius in December 2012. Although El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are likely to remain neutral through the northern hemisphere spring 2013, close follow up is required over the coming weeks as further decreases in the SST would increase the chance of a La Niña-related impact on the upcoming February to June rainy season. The ENSO phenomenon contributes significantly to seasonal climate fluctuations, often with substantial implications for humans and their environment. While an El Niño normally leads to normal- to above-normal rains over the eastern Horn of Africa, La Niña conditions, which originate in below-normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, generally result in below-normal rainfall.
Meanwhile, the National Meteorological Agency (NMA) has released its forecast for the 2013 belg (mid-February to May) rainy season, which indicates these belg rains are expected to perform better than 2012, with a likelihood of near-normal onset and cessation of the rains. Overall, the season’s performance is expected to be normal to below normal over much of north-eastern Ethiopia; near-normal across central, eastern and southern parts of the country; and below-normal across south-eastern areas. Near- to above-normal rainfall is anticipated in north-western and western parts of the country, which do not normally receive rains in this period. According to NMA, the month of May 2013 should see an improvement in rainfall performance. Note: the belg are the major rains for the southern and south-eastern lowlands of Ethiopia and important for the production of short-cycle crops and preparation for planting of long-cycle crops in central highland areas. For more information, contact: FAO-Ethiopia@fao.org and firstname.lastname@example.org
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