Africa: Forecast of intense water deficits includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia

9 February 2019

The 12-month forecast through September 2019 indicates a vast stretch of intense water deficits across northern Africa from Mauritania to the Red Sea.

Deficits of varying intensity are forecast for much of the remainder of the continent include exceptional deficits in the Horn of Africa, Southern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, southwestern Angola, northwestern and southwestern Namibia, and western South Africa.

Exceptional surpluses are forecast for western Tanzania, and surpluses of generally lesser intensity are expected in southern Republic of the Congo, western Democratic Republic of the Congo, northwestern Angola, and western Mozambique.

The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in greater detail.

The forecast through March indicates that deficits will persist on much of the continent, but the extent of exceptional deficits will diminish considerably. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast across northern and central Africa along with pockets of exceptional deficit. Anomalies will be intense in: Nigeria’s northwestern and southeastern corners, eastern Sudan, western and southeastern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, southwestern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, western Gabon, and Lesotho. Mild to moderate deficits are forecast for southern Africa. Intense surpluses will persist in western Tanzania, and surpluses in southern Republic of the Congo, westernmost Democratic Republic of the Congo, northwestern Angola, and northern Madagascar will downgrade to moderate.

From April through June, deficits across northern Africa will intensify, with more areas of severe to exceptional deficit. Mild to moderate deficits are forecast from, roughly, the Sahel through Zambia, and mild deficits in southern Africa. Surpluses will emerge in southern Chad and across the border into eastern Nigeria, and surpluses in western Tanzania will shrink and downgrade.

During the final quarter – July through September – deficits will continue to intensify across northern Africa as extreme to exceptional deficits emerge from Morocco to the Red Sea. Exceptional deficits are forecast for southern Somalia and nearby regions in neighboring countries, and deficits will intensify across southern Africa, with exceptional conditions forecast in Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, and western Madagascar.

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

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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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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