The Big Picture
Water deficits are forecast to persist on the Baja Peninsula and will continue to emerge in southern Mexico as shown in the 12-month map (below). Moderate surpluses are forecast in Sonora. In Central America deficits are forecast in Guatemala, El Salvador, southern Honduras, western Nicaragua, and eastern Panama. In the Caribbean dry conditions are forecast for Haiti; surpluses in central Cuba will persist through the spring months.*

Impacts
The three-year drought in Haiti has pushed nearly a third of its population into food insecurity, according the an assessment by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the National Coordination for Food Security. Almost three-quarters of farmers reported that they had lost more than 82 percent of their 2015 spring harvest, and this year 65 percent said they could not plant due to lack of agricultural inputs. The WFP estimates that $72 million will be needed for drought relief from April through September.

The Panama Canal Authority has announced draft restrictions on vessels entering the Canal due to the low water levels of Gatun Lake, one of the reservoirs feeding the Canal. The level of both Gatun and Alhajuela reservoirs - which supply water to more than half the country's households - are at historic lows, and rationing has been imposed in some areas.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) for the same time period shows the evolving conditions in more detail. As the April through June map illustrates, deficits on the Baja Peninsula are expected to diminish in severity, though not in extent, from exceptional (greater than 40 years) to primarily extreme (20-40 years). Similarly, deficits in southern Mexico will diminish. Moderate water surpluses are expected in Tamaulipas (northeastern Mexico). In Central America deficits will emerge in Guatemala and Panama; surpluses are predicted for the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Water anomalies in the Caribbean are forecast to ameliorate – surpluses in central Cuba will recede and deficits on Hispaniola will diminish.

From July through September severe to exceptional deficits are expected to emerge in southern and eastern Mexico, eastern Cuba, eastern Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and western Nicaragua; and to persist in eastern Panama and Hispaniola. Surpluses are forecast in eastern Sonora, Mexico. A similar pattern of conditions is expected to persist through the final quarter of the forecast period.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

* Please note that effective March 28, 2016 NOAA changed the initialization procedure for CFSv2 to address issues with unrealistically cold sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. As a result, this month's Watch List is based on an ensemble of 14 CFSv2 forecasts issued after this fix was implemented instead of the normal 28. For more information see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/notification/tin16-09cfs.htm and http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/changes/downloads/CFSv2_Atlantic_cold_bias_problem.pdf.

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

For more information contact info@isciences.com.

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