PROSPECTS FOR THE 2016/2017 RAINFALL SEASON IN MALAWI
Generally normal to above normal total rainfall amounts over
greater part of the country by the end of the season.
The period October to April is the main rainfall season over
Generally the main rains start from November in the south and
progressively spread 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.
key driving factors on rainfall systems over Malawi include the
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the Pacific, Indian and
Atlantic tropical Oceans.
Currently, a weak La Nina phenomenon has developed over the
Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean and is expected to
persist up to early 2017. La Nina, unusual cooling of waters
over the Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean, affects
rainfall pattern over the world including Southern Africa and
In recent years, the rainfall seasons which were affected by a
weak La Nina phenomenon of almost similar strength like
2016-2017 rainfall season are 1983-1984 and 2005-2006 seasons.
Climatic analyses on these weak La Nina years show that the
country experienced normal cumulative rainfall amounts. However,
a greater part of the southern half of the country experienced
above normal rainfall amounts while some parts in the northern
half experienced below normal rainfall amounts.
Based on the observations and analyses in Malawi, with further
additional input from consensus forecast from the climate
experts meeting that took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, the
rainfall forecast for 2016-2017 for Malawi is:
During October to December 2016, the greater part of southern
half of the country is expected to have normal to above normal
rainfall amounts while the greater part of northern half will
have normal to below normal.
During the period January to March 2017, the greater part of the
country is expected to experience normal to above normal
Overall, the greater part of the country is going to experience
normal to above normal rainfall amounts during October 2016 to
This therefore means, while many areas of the country will
experience good rainfall, flooding and dry spells are likely to
occur in some areas during
the 2016-2017 season.
It 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
This forecast also takes into consideration the fact that
tropical cyclones that develop in the South-west Indian Ocean
and climate change can have either adverse or favourable effects
on Malawi rainfall. The Department of Climate Change and
Meteorological Services will therefore continuously issue
seasonal updates, daily and five-day forecasts, ten-day rainfall
and agro-meteorological bulletins as well as monitor and issue
advices on the development and movement of the tropical cyclones
during the 2016/2017 rainfall season.
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;
email@example.com; Tel: (265) 1 822014; Fax: (265) 1
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.
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