ZIMBABWE starting end of October will be updating rainfall forecasts on a monthly basis.
This was revealed on Tuesday by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa during a post cabinet media briefing.
“The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry briefed Cabinet on the 2020-2021 Season Rainfall Forecast for Zimbabwe. The forecast which is a product of the annual National Climate Outlook Forum (NACOF) convened by the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe (MSD), is used by multi-sectoral stakeholders as a planning tool since weather and climate information is invaluable to all sectors of the economy,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet adopted Environment and Climate Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu’s report which pointed to an improved rainfall pattern for the season.
“The forecast is for total cumulative seasonal rainfall amounts, and seasonal rainfall predictions will be updated on monthly basis beginning end of October. Further details relating to the region specific outlook will be given by the relevant department,” she said.
According to the latest Global Agricultural Geo-monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM) global outlook report, Southern Africa may receive more rainfall compared to the 2019-2020 farming season.
A national forecast for Zimbabwe is expected to be made in the coming few days as the country steps up efforts to prepare for the summer crop.
“El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions are likely to continue through summer 2020 ENSO and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are currently neutral and are expected to remain neutral through the northern hemisphere summer,” read part of the report.
“However, there is an elevated chance of La Niña or La Niña-like climate arising by October. Such conditions are associated with the combined influence of abnormally cool equatorial East Pacific sea surface waters and abnormally warm sea surface waters in the western Pacific.
“La Niña or La Niña-like conditions during October-December typically reduce rainfall in East Africa, Central Southwest Asia, southern Brazil and central Argentina and increase rainfall in Southern Africa, Australia and eastern Brazil.”
Climate experts say cooling waters over the Pacific Ocean were pointing towards La Nina.
La Ninas are normally associated with wet conditions for Zimbabwe and the entire southern Africa sub-continent, but a local weather expert cautioned that they sometimes don’t result in widespread rain.
Climate experts further say that La Nina events are also associated with heightened risk of cyclones as well as cool daytime temperatures.
Zimbabwe and most other SADC countries recorded the lowest rainfall in nearly four decades in the 2018-2019 cropping season resulting in increased food insecurity and water shortages across the region.