Seasonal Monitor

Continued adequate moisture conditions raise hopes for average to above-average harvest

September 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.IPC phase classifications for concentrations of displaced people are included in Nigeria country maps.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
USGS

Key Messages

  • The Intertropical Front (ITF) started its southward retreat in early September but it remains either at or north of its average position, which could mean a normal to longer growing period.

  • From early July until mid-September, mostly average to above-average rainfall that has been well-distributed over time has fallen throughout most of the region (Figures 1 and 2), which is ensuring good growing conditions.

  • Seasonal rainfall deficits (Figure 2) are minimal and limited to the extreme western part of the Sahel, the middle of Niger and the southern part of the Gulf of Guinea countries; these deficits are not expected to adversely affect crop development.

  • The medium-term forecast for the next two weeks (Sept 23-29 and Sept 30-Oct 6) calls for a drier agro-pastoral zone, likely signaling a normal end of the rainy season, and for moderate to heavy rains over the rest of the region where agricultural conditions will remain favorable. 

  • Heavy rainfall over the past two months has caused flooding in some areas along the Niger, Benue and Senegal River basins. Based on the past two weeks’ rainfall amount and frequency as well as the next two-week forecast, the risk of flooding remains high in Senegal and Nigeria.

Update on Seasonal Progress

  • The Intertropical Front (ITF) reached its northernmost position at the end of August and started its southward retreat in early September. However, the retreat has been slower than average, leaving the ITF north of its climatological position over eastern Mauritania, Mali and Niger and at its climatological position in western Mauritania and over Chad (Figure 3).
  • The seasonal “minor dry season” in the bi-modal zone finished as usual in late August and early September.
  • Seasonal rainfall (April-September) has been average to above average over most of the region (Figures 1 and 2).  Rainfall deficits are light and limited to a few areas scattered across the region including western Senegal, central Niger, and the southern part of the Gulf of Guinea countries.  These deficits, however, are not expected to have an adverse impact on crop and pasture production because:
    • the rainfall distribution over time was favorable without any long dry spells
    • most of the previously mentioned deficit areas were wetter than average during previous month
  • In some places, the heavy rainfall during August resulted in flooding in low lying areas and along major rivers.  Light to moderate flooding has been reported in Mali and Niger along the Niger River and in Nigeria along the Benue and Niger Rivers.  Flooding has also been reported in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Senegal over low lying areas with often poor drainage systems.
  • While rainfall subsided over most of the Niger River basin during the past two weeks, the Senegal and Benue basins have received heavy and frequent rains.  Since the next two week forecast also calls for heavy rains over a large portion of these two basins, the risk of flooding remains high.
  • The mostly adequate and well-distributed seasonal rainfall across all agro-ecological zones is favorable to crop development, and an average to above-average harvest is expected as a result.

Forecasts

  • NOAA/CPC’s short and medium-term forecasts call for moderate to heavy rains in the region with the exception of the agro-pastoral zone where drier conditions are expected.  Rainfall is also expected to be below average in southern Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal for the next two weeks (Sept 23-29 and Sept 30-Oct 6).
  • In next month, which officially marks the end of the growing period in West Africa, the NOAA-NCEP seasonal forecast calls for average rainfall across the whole region.

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information here.

 

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.