The Big Picture
Water deficits are forecast in Northwest Africa, coastal West Africa and southern Africa through November 2016, with particular persistence in coastal West Africa, as seen in the 12-mo map below. Exceptional surpluses are expected in East Africa, especially in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Surpluses are forecast to emerge in Ethiopia, Sudan, the Sahel, and northeastern Mozambique.

The drought in North Africa has taken a severe toll on Morocco's wheat crop, wiping out half of the harvest in Africa's second largest wheat producer and helping to slow economic growth to 1.2 percent. In southern Africa, Malawi will import 50,000 tonnes of maize for the 2.8 million people affected by drought and Swaziland declared a national emergency citing current food and water vulnerability afflicting 25 percent of the population. UNICEF has stated that Zimbabwe is facing its worst malnutrition rates in 15 years with 33,000 children in need of urgent treatment. The drought slowed South Africa's economy in the last quarter of 2015 to 0.6 percent, causing Moody's Investors Service to warn of a possible downgrade.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) illustrate the evolution of water anomalies in greater detail. Exceptional deficits in northwest Ethiopia are forecast to persist through May and then transition to surpluses. Deficits in southern Africa are forecast to diminish in severity in March but persist through the remainder of the forecast period. In Zimbabwe, however, extreme deficits are expected to remain.

Surpluses are forecast to continue to emerge in southern Mali and Burkina Faso, persisting through October and emerging eastward across the Sahel in southern Chad and Sudan July through November. Surpluses are forecast along the White Nile April through November. In July flooding is forecast between the Nile, Blue Nile, and Dinder Rivers south of Khartoum, Sudan; and, along the Bahr El Gazel River in Chad and south near N’Djamena.

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


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.

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