Monday, April 9, 2012

Rwanda experts predict long droughts, call to increase food storage

Kenneth Agutamba in via Rwanda Focus: Weather experts at Rwanda's Metrological Centre are warning of possible long droughts that may affect agricultural harvests and lead to a food crisis. According to Anthony Twahirwa, the head of the weather forecast unit at the centre, the first rainy season of the year which runs from March to May has shown serious unpredictability presenting a rare case to forecasts for the first time in recent years.

"Normally, the country should have started receiving rains at a regular intervals from March this year but we are still waiting for it to start," Twahirwa explains.

Now in the second week of April, the forecasters contend the rains should be reaching their highest levels manifested in the form of heavy down pours but there are no signs of that yet. "What we are experiencing now is an overstayed La Niña period which is when there's too much cooling in the equatorial Pacific Ocean so we don't expect any rains during such a period," he says.

He adds that the La Niña period was supposed to have ended back in February to give way for rain at the start of March which never happened. What all Rwandans should be praying for is El Niño which is the direct opposite of La Niña. During El Niño, there's too much warming at sea which increases rising vapor in the atmosphere which in turn condenses to result into heavy rains.

Simply put, the seas are too cold to produce any moisture into the atmosphere and the forecasters are saying they have noticed no signs of this improving. The worst scenario would therefore be a long drought or fewer rains that will not support good food harvests....

No comments: