The bulk of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall between October to December (OND) 2021 and January to March (JFM) 2022, regional weather and climate experts have predicted.
A statement released at the end of the 25th annual Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) hosted virtually with support from SADC Member States and funding from the European Union through the Intra-ACP Climate Services and related Applications project, forecast that the bulk of the SADC Region is likely to receive good rainfall during the next agricultural season.
There was, however, consensus during the meeting that national meteorological services in SADC Member States should work on their own detailed forecasts so as to capture the actual forecast for their own countries. Users of the forecast were strongly advised to contact their National Meteorological and Hydrological Services for interpretation of the Outlook, additional guidance and updates.
This year, the SADC Secretariat, through SADC Climate Services Centre, convened SARCOF-25 virtually from 30-31 August 2021 under the theme, Impact of Warming Oceans on Our Weather and Climate.
SARCOF-25 forecast normal to below normal rains in north-western Angola, bulk of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), western and southern Madagascar, northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, western fringes of Namibia and South Africa, south-western United Republic of Tanzania, and north-eastern Zambia between October and December 2021.
There are however, chances of normal to above normal rainfall in northern DRC, northern Tanzania, central and northern Mozambique, southern Malawi, northern half of Zimbabwe, most of Zambia, southernmost DRC, south-eastern half of Angola, bulk of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa, and western parts of Lesotho.
Normal to above-normal rainfall is also forecast for extreme south-western Zambia, Caprivi (Zambezi) area of Namibia, south-easternmost Angola, south-western half of Zimbabwe, eastern half of Botswana, most of northern South Africa, eastern Lesotho, Eswatini, and southern Mozambique.
SARCOF forecast increased chances of normal to below normal rainfall in northern Mozambique, southern Tanzania, northern Malawi, northernmost Zambia, bulk of DRC, north-western and south-western most parts of Angola, western coastal areas of Namibia and western fringes of South Africa during the same period.
There is also increased chances of normal to below normal in western and southern Madagascar, but increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall in eastern Madagascar. Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros will experience increased chances of normal to above normal rainfall.
During the period November-December 2021-January 2022, there will be increased chances of above-normal to normal rainfall in the bulk of DRC and northwestern Angola; and increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall in northern Mozambique, northern and southern half of Tanzania, northern Malawi, northern and eastern Zambia, southernmost DRC, bulk of Angola, eastern half of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central South Africa, central parts of Zambia, southern Malawi, northern half of Zimbabwe and central parts of Mozambique.
SARCOF also forecast increased chances of above-normal to normal rainfall in northern and southern half of Zimbabwe, eastern half of Botswana, north and central South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, southern Mozambique and Mauritius, while the south-westernmost Angola, western fringes of Namibia and South Africa, southern and northern Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Comoros is expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall.
During the December 2021-January-February 2022, there are increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, bulk of Angola, most of Zimbabwe, greater part of Mozambique, western and eastern half of Tanzania, south-western Angola, most of Namibia, western half of Botswana, central South Africa, Lesotho, southernmost, western and eastern-most Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Comoros.
The southern part of Zimbabwe, eastern half of Botswana, northen South Africa, Eswatini, and southern Mozambique are forecast for increased chances of above-normal to normal rainfall.
SARCOF forecast increased chances of normal to below-normal rainfall in south-western fringe of Namibia and south-western South Africa during the same period.
The bulk of DRC, northernmost Angola, northernmost Tanzania, northern Mozambique, bulk of Tanzania, northern Malawi, northern and western Zambia, bulk of Angola, south eastern DRC, north-western tip of Botswana, northernmost Namibia, western half of Botswana, central to southern Namibia, western Lesotho, central South Africa, central Mozambique, southern Malawi, central Zambia, northern and southern half of Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, eastern half of Botswana, central and northern South Africa, Eswatini, eastern Lesotho, central, northernmost and southernmost Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Comoros are forecast to have increased chances of normal to above-normal rainfall during the January-February-March 2022 period.
However, the south-western tip of Angola, western fringes of Namibia, and south-western South Africa are forecast to receive normal to below-normal rains.
The rainfall outlook for the 2021/2022 season was formulated by climate scientists from the SADC National Meteorological and/or Hydrological Services (NMHSs), and the SADC CSC.
During the two-day meeting, participants discussed the implications, preparedness and mitigation strategies for the 2021/22 rainfall season on agriculture and food security, livestock, the health sector, disaster risk management and conflict and early warning, water, energy and the private sector, and on communication and the media.
Climate experts examined the potential impacts of the forecast season and said there was a likelihood of locust outbreaks, crickets, and the fall armyworm. They urged Member States to intensify surveillance to minimise damage to crops.
They also said the season was likely to bring cyclones and floods, and urged Member States to conduct education and awareness campaigns and have places to shelter those likely to be affected.
Participants also agreed to involve the media more in the dissemination of information from SARCOF and in the education and awareness campaigns.
Download the documents from the links below