In its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) to the public, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has predicted that most parts of Nigeria are expected to experience less than normal, delayed and early cessation of rainfall than previous years across the country.
NIMET’s SRP is part of the agency’s meteorological Early Warning System, containing rainfall and temperature outlook for the year, as well as the possible socio-economic implications of the projected weather patterns.
Director General/CEO of NIMET, Dr Anthony Anuforom, said the current rainfall prediction indicates that this year, the rainy season in Nigeria will be characterized by late on-set, early cessation and lower-than-normal rainfall in many parts of the country, especially in the northernmost parts.
However, the expected lower-than-normal rainfall in parts of the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in places that are naturally prone to flooding.
Dry spells during the rainy season may be more frequent and severe in many parts of the North, while the ‘little dry season’ or August break in parts of the South are expected to be pronounced. These are risk factors for farmers in the affected areas and have to be carefully and scientifically managed, the Director revealed.
He explained that this year’s SRP presentation will focus on the impact of weather variability and climate change on transportation infrastructure and agriculture in the country.
Mr. Anuforom also said the agency’s yearly rainfall prediction is critical to the nation’s economic growth and development.
The SRP is designed to provide relevant information for planning and execution of projects and programmes in various sectors of the economy, especially those that are sensitive to weather variability such as agriculture, air transportation, infrastructure construction, telecommunications and water resources.
Summarily, Nigeria this year will experience low moisture and heightened dryness. The key message of NIMET’s prediction is that most parts of Nigeria are likely to experience delayed onset, early cessation and less-than-normal rainfall amounts as well as dry spells.
Anuforom attributes this to the effect of the El Nino that has persisted since 2015, stating that many parts of the country are less likely to experience delayed onset, early cessation and dry spells during the rainy season.
Of particular concern is the fact that the dry spell may set in from May to June/July when farmers may have planted their crops. If not well managed, this could result in crop failure, he said.
The provision and dissemination of the full climate services is beyond the capacity of any single organisation like NIMET, Anuforom said, adding that it calls for collaboration among MDAs and across disciplinary boundaries in the country.
NIMET explains that global warming and climate change are real, their manifestations in form unusual, violent weather phenomena are evident and constitute threats to sustainable development.
The director stated that the production and presentation of the SRP was an annual activity undertaken by the agency in providing weather and climate services for activities in all sectors of the economy and advising government on all aspects of meteorology.
Dr Anuforom advised that rainfall variability is a major risk factor which must be carefully managed in order to ensure the success of the diversification policy, bearing in mind that agriculture in Nigeria is predominantly rain-fed.
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