THE 2018/2019 RAINFALL SEASON IN MALAWI
The period October to April is the
main rainfall season over Malawi. October therefore marks the
beginning of the official rainfall season monitoring in the
country with the main rains arriving mainly from November in the
south and progressively spreading northwards. During this
period, the main rain bearing systems that influence rainfall
over Malawi include the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ),
Congo air mass, Easterly Waves and Tropical Cyclones.
The key driving factors on rainfall systems over Malawi include
the Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the Pacific, Indian and
Atlantic tropical Oceans.
Global models are currently projecting the development of
moderate El Nino conditions between September and November 2018
which are likely to persist throughout the 2018/2019 rainfall
season. An El Nino phenomenon is the unusual warming of waters
over the Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean and is known
to influence rainfall patterns across the world including
Southern Africa and Malawi.
Since the year 2000, El Nino events have been observed in
2002-2003, 2004-2005, 2006-2007, 2009-2010, 2014-2015 and
2015-2016 seasons. Of these, only 2002-2003 and 2009-2010 were
affected by moderate El Nino similar to the 2018/2019 season.
Climatic analyses on these moderate El Nino years show that the
country received generally normal cumulative rainfall amounts
and early onset in the northern half and reduced cumulative
rainfall amounts and normal onset in the southern half of
Based on the observations and analyses in Malawi, with further
additional input from consensus forecast from the climate
expertsí meeting that took place in Gaborone Botswana and
discussed at the 22nd Southern Africa Regional
Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-22) in Lusaka, Zambia, the
seasonal rainfall forecast for 2018-2019 for Malawi is:
During the period October 2018 to March 2019, most of the
northern areas spilling over into north of central areas of the
country are expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall
amounts, while most of the southern areas spilling over into
south of central areas of the country are expected to receive
normal to below normal rainfall amounts.
This implies that impacts associated with reduced or increased
rainfall amounts such as prolonged dry spells and floods
respectively are likely to occur during the season.
should be noted that the forecast is relevant for relatively
large areas and seasonal time scales and therefore may not fully
account for all factors that influence localized climate
variability, such as daily, weekly and month to month
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services
will therefore continuously issue seasonal updates, district
seasonal forecasts, ten-day rainfall and Agro-meteorological
bulletins, weekly forecasts, five-day and daily forecasts, as
well as monitor and issue advisories on the development and
movement of the tropical cyclones over the South West Indian
Ocean during the 2018/2019 rainfall season.
Users from the agricultural sector are encouraged to seek advice
from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water
Development when applying this forecast in decision making such
as when to plant.
For further information and interpretation of this seasonal
forecast, users are advised to contact the Director of Climate
Change and Meteorological Services, P.O. Box 1808, Blantyre;
firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: (265) 1 822014; Fax: (265) 1
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