…Early rain expected March 2 in coastal states
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has presented its 2023 seasonal climate and temperature prediction, which serves as an early warning tool to the public, to guide stakeholders in agriculture, aviation, construction, water resources, health, trade and tourism for timely preparedness and anticipatory action against weather and climate-related hazard in urban and rural communities in Nigeria.
Speaking during the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) themed “Strengthening Climate Risk Early Warning Services for Improved Food Security And Disaster Risk Reduction In Nigeria” in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the effective ways of mitigating climate-induced disasters is the provision of early warning services across the country.
The early warnings must be matched by early action, so that it can translate to disaster risk reduction in Nigeria.
Also, the 2023 SCP has been translated into Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, to provide increased access and encourage wider uptake in the country.
The earliest onset of the raining and planting season is expected around March 2, 2023, while day and night temperature forecasts for May have been included to capture variability in recent climate and to cover the hot season in Nigeria which is usually observed between February and May.
“The rainfall onset date is predicted to be earlier than the long-term average in most parts of the country. However, parts of Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, and Yobe in the north and Cross River, Ebonyi, Imo, and Rivers in the south are likely to experience a delayed onset.
The onset is expected to become established in early March from the coastal states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom; in April for the inland states of the south; in May around the central states and around July in the northern states. The onset dates will range from March 2 to July 7, 2023.
“An early end of season (EoS) is predicted over parts of the south (especially in Osun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and eastern parts of Ogun and Lagos) and parts of Yobe, Adamawa, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi. However, an extended rainfall season is predicted over parts of Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, western Ogun and Lagos. The EoS is expected to range from the September till December 25.
“The length of growing season in most places in the country is likely to be near the long-term average, except for some parts of the northern states such as Katsina, Jigawa and Kano where shorter than the long-term average length of the growing season is anticipated. The season is expected to range from 84 to 283 days. Abuja and surrounding states are expected to witness between 170 and 230 days.
“The annual total rainfall is predicted to be normal to above normal in most parts of the country. However, in parts of Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna and FCT that are likely to observe below normal to near-normal annual rainfall amounts. The annual rainfall amount is expected to range from 420 mm in the far northernmost parts to 3253 mm in the coastal areas.
“However, dry spell occurrences have characterised our seasons in recent years. In 2023, we should also prepare for its occurrence between June and early July as dry spell lasting between 15 to 21 days, especially from the central parts of the country to the north.
“When compared to the last years, the ‘little’ dry season (‘August Break’) for 2023 is expected to be less intense and expected to last between 14 and 20 days, starting from late July, especially over the southwestern part of the country.
“As weather is dynamic, so is the climate (i.e., climate variability). Hence, I assure you that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency will ensure everything is done to bring updates to you, should there be changes in any of the expected climatic parameter.”
Sirika commended the management and staff of NiMet for continuously improving the quality of services of timely presentation of SCP within the first quarter of the year.
The director-general of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu stated that the 2023 rainfall season is predicted based on two phases; the phase for the onset of rains and a neutral phase expected to impact the length of season, end of season and total seasonal rainfall amount.
The conditions are expected to lead to and early onset, normal cessation, normal length of season and normal to above normal rainfall patterns in the country
Matazu disclosed that the president has given a marching order for improvement in providing early warning services that directive and challenge also and that is why we have released the document as early as January, to give about two to three months lead time.
“Mild-to-moderate (8-16 days) dry spell is predicted to occur in April 2023 in the south after the onset is established. Following the establishment of the onset in the north, a severe dry spell that is likely to last between 15 to 21 days or longer is predicted in June to early July in parts of the northern and central states.
Matazu promised to give clearer information about running workshops with the climate change agent with agric extension officers because 400 object information will guarantee increase in yield and productivity.
“We want to advise citizens and all government parastatals to use this information is available on our website. Also, we are open for collaboration, especially [with] state governments, for a downscaling. This is a national forecast we are providing and it contains information for over 500 cities,” he stressed.
Matazu explained that the prediction for 2023 shows that the onset of the growing season is likely to range from early-to-normal in most parts of the country. In livestock production, the 2023 prediction shows that daytime temperatures all over the country is likely to be above normal rainfall across the country. In water resources management, the 2023 prediction for most parts of the country would experience early onset of rains from March 2 in the coastal states to around July 7 in the northernmost boundaries of the country. Transportation will be affected greatly by the different weather elements (heavy rainfall, thick dust haze, a long rainy season etc.).
In his address, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Dr Emmanuel Meribole disclosed that one of the effective ways of mitigating against the negative impacts of flood is the availability of early warnings.
“The impact of climate variability and change has continued to threaten livelihoods, infrastructure and socio-economic growth across different nations of the world, including Nigeria. This is exacerbated by the steady rise in global temperatures and increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in 2022 which have continued to warm our climate (WMO, 2022). This has resulted in increased incidences of extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, wild fires, sea level rise, etc., across the world.
“Hitherto, flood in 2012 were considered unprecedented in Nigeria but, in 2022, a new record of the worst flood in Nigeria’s history washed a rosy the country and destroyed over 569,000 hectares of farmland, caused over 600 deaths and displaced over 1.3 million persons in 34 out of the 36 states of the Federation. The rainfall amount in 2022 was generally above-normal in the country, particularly in the north. The total annual rainfall amount was observed to be higher in 2022 than 2012 in the north, with instances in Sokoto and Borno states, where the total annual rainfall amount was more than twice the 1991-2020 climatological values. One of the effective ways of mitigating against the negative impact of flood events is the availability of early warnings” he said.
Meribole further noted that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) is one of the parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Aviation charged with the responsibility of advising the Federal Government in all aspects of meteorology; project, preparation and interpretation of government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather and climate forecasts for the safe operation of aircrafts, ocean going vessels & oil rigs, as well as other socioeconomic sectors, including disaster risk reduction.
“The agency observes, collates, collects, processes and disseminates all meteorological data and information within and outside the country. NiMet’s services cut across agriculture, aviation, building and construction, defence, disaster risk reduction and management, education, health, finance and insurance, marine and maritime, oil and gas, power and energy, telecommunications, among others, in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.
“The seasonal climate prediction is one of NiMet’s flagship products, an invaluable early warning tool that has provided stakeholders with relevant climate smart knowledge and information that will help reduce the risk of weather and climate change impacts in various weather-sensitive sectors of the economy and maximise the opportunities provided by the information contained in the product,” he added.