Somalia Rainfall Outlook for the 2023 GU Season Issued: 17 Mar 2023
Somalia’s Gu (April-May-June) is the main wet season in the country, and is critical in supporting agricultural activities and replenishing water and pasture. The season begins as early as the second half of March, at the tail end of the Jilal Season, and the rains intensify in April with the onset progressing north eastwards almost mimicking the south-north progression of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) that follows the overhead sun. Gu rainfall cessation occurs in June in most parts of the country, with the north- eastern coastline receiving the least amount of rainfall during this season. According to the recently released Seasonal Climate Forecast issued by IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), there is a 50% likelihood that below normal rainfall (drier than normal conditions) will be observed over most parts of Somalia as is evidenced by the yellow coloration shown in Map 1. Over the northern parts of Middle Shabelle there is greater likelihood (60%) of observing such dry conditions. In the north eastern part of the country, southern Togdheer and Lower Juba there are equal probabilities of below normal, normal and above normal rains over most areas (denoted by white coloration). The above rainfall conditions will be accompanied by warmer than normal surface temperatures (55% likelihood) over much of the country, with increased chance of up to 70% over the northern areas. Drought analysis using SPI have shown moderate multi- season drought conditions in the southwestern Somalia (Gedo and Juba regions) and severe conditions over Sanaag region. Seasonal climate scientists have observed that the poor forecast 2023 Gu rains are comparable to the forecast conditions of the years 2017 and 2021. However, due to the poor predictability of the Gu rain season, the forecast is expected to have high spatial variability. Further, the rainfall forecasts categories vary over regions; 170 mm and 195 mm thresholds are applicable over Somalia. It is worth noting that this forecast is designed for a regional audience that addresses the rainfall totals summed over the three-month period from March to May 2023.
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