Africa: Intense water deficits forecast for W Ethiopia & parts of the Nile River
27 November 2018
THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through July 2019 indicates a vast block of exceptional water deficits in northern Africa from eastern Algeria and northern Mali to the Red Sea. Other areas of intense deficits include northern Democratic Republic of the Congo reaching north into Central African Republic; southern Cameroon; western Ethiopia; central Somalia around the Shebelle River; and southwestern Namibia.
Surpluses are forecast for scattered pockets of West Africa and some pockets in eastern Tanzania into Kenya.
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in greater detail.
The forecast through January indicates that exceptional deficits in Africa will shrink considerably, but moderate to severe deficits are forecast across much of the northern half of the continent along with some large exceptional pockets and scattered smaller pockets of both deficit and surplus (purple/pink). Areas of exceptional deficit include southeastern Algeria, the Nile River, the White Nile and parts of the Blue Nile, northwestern Nigeria into Benin and southeastern Nigeria, southern Cameroon, and northwestern Kenya. Other areas of intense deficit include western Ethiopia, northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda and Burundi, Angola’s southwestern coast, and west-central Madagascar. Moderate deficits are forecast for most of DRC and into northern Zambia, and mild deficits in southern Africa.
Surpluses are forecast for south-central Chad and in scattered pockets around the Gulf of Guinea including Liberia, eastern Guinea, central Ghana and Togo, coastal Nigeria, southeastern Cameroon, southern Republic of the Congo, and spanning the westernmost border of DRC and Angola. Some surpluses are also expected to linger in northeastern Tanzania.
From February through March severe to exceptional deficits will emerge in northwestern Africa, and intense deficits are forecast across the north to the Red Sea, including deficits along the Blue Nile and Atbara Rivers, and in western Ethiopia. Aforementioned surpluses around the Gulf of Guinea will transition to deficit or conditions of both deficit and surplus, except in Liberia and northeastern Ghana. Surpluses will remain intense in Liberia. Conditions in East Africa may return to near-normal but moderate deficits will persist in DRC with more severe deficits in the north and into CAR around the Uele and Bomu Rivers. Mild deficits in southern Africa are expected to intensify slightly in some areas. Water conditions in Madagascar will normalize.
During the final quarter – May through July – intense deficits will increase across northern Africa as exceptional deficits emerge from Liberia and northern Niger to the Red Sea. Moderate deficits are forecast for much of the remainder of the continent, but deficits may be more intense in central Somalia surrounding the Shebelle River, and southern Angola into Namibia and the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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NOTE ON ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES
There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers.
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