Category Archives: Weather

Cabinet makes key decisions on climate change

Pretoria: Cabinet says it has made key decisions related to climate change programmes.

Briefing the media following a Cabinet meeting, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said Cabinet was updated on progress made in developing the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP): Green House Gas (GHG) Mitigation Analysis.

“The report analyses South Africa’s performance in effective management of the climate change impacts, and makes recommendations for South Africa’s contribution to the global effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere,” she said.

Minister Muthambi said Cabinet also received a draft report on the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for South Africa, for the period 2000 – 2010.

The minister said this was in line with the United National Framework convention on Climate Change, which South Africa ratified in 1997.

“According to this convention, countries are meant submit their progress reports every two years.

“The current draft report has been released for public comments. It will be finalised to be ready for submission later in the year,” she said.


Somalia: Late, erratic rainfall raises concerns about harvest prospects and food security / FAO calls for urgent action to scale up support amid already dire situation affecting large numbers of people

ROME, Italy, June 2, 2014– Late rains and erratic weather patterns in Somalia have raised concerns over a worsening of the food security situation, as food stocks from the last, poor harvest become depleted and prices continue to rise sharply, a new FAO report says.

The situation is being exacerbated by conflict and inadequate funding for priority actions designed to address the needs of hard-hit communities, according to FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) report. This is in line with an earlier report from FAO Somalia’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU).

GIEWS presents a worrisome picture as the lean season progresses and the recent escalation in conflict in the southern and central regions continues to have a disruptive impact on markets.

“The people of Somalia cannot afford to wait to see how the next harvest turns out. They need urgent support to improve their food security and maintain their livelihoods, most of which depend directly on agriculture,” said Luca Alinovi, acting Head of FAO’s Somalia Office and FAO Representative in Kenya.

FAO, in coordination with partners in the Food Security Cluster (FSC) addressing the humanitarian situation, is urgently seeking $18 million to scale up rapid interventions (90-day priority needs response) to prevent and mitigate the further deterioration of the food security situation.

A delayed start to the 2014 gu season (April-June) has added to concerns already fuelled by the weak January harvest of the 2013/2014 deyr cereal crops, cultivated during the secondary, late-year rainy period. Harvests were well below average in the central and southern areas of the country, following weeks of late and erratic rainfall, as well as flooding around rivers.

Lower stocks, coupled with the market and trade disruptions, led to double-digit increases in wholesale prices of maize and sorghum in some areas.

In the main producing areas of the south, April retail prices of maize and sorghum were as much as 60 and 80 percent higher, respectively, than one year earlier, also due to the scaling back of humanitarian assistance operations.

The gu rains resumed in early May, but rains will need to continue through the end of June in order to prevent further deterioration of the food security situation in Somalia.

Conditions are expected to improve slightly in August and September when the harvest is ready for consumption, but the positive impact is likely to be moderate given the unfavourable prospects of the current season.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia is currently estimated at about 860 000, including over 200 000 malnourished children under five years of age.

Urgent action needed

The urgent activities proposed by FAO are aimed at meeting the most vulnerable Somali communities’ immediate needs and making them more resilient to droughts and other shocks:

• temporary employment creation through FAO’s Cash-for-Work programme for the rehabilitation of water catchments and irrigation canals for an estimated 13000 households (estimated cost: $6.3million);

• distribution of adapted crop and fodder production inputs (seed and vouchers for fertilizer and tractor hours) for the coming Deyr 2014 season for an estimated 15000 households ($5.5million);

• livestock restocking for 4000 destitute pastoralists ($3.2million);

• pest and disease prevention and control (mass vaccination and treatment against sheep and goat pox (SGP), peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) in affected areas ($3million).

These interventions, planned for the upcoming three months, will be in the priority target areas of Hiran, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Galgadug and Bakol Regions in South Central Somalia and Bari region in the Northeast.

The overall FAO programme in Somalia consists of three pillars, namely 1) resilience; 2) institutional capacity development and policy support; and 3) information for action, which includes early warning systems for food security, nutrition, drought and floods. The total planned value of the FAO Somalia Programme (2014-2017) is $566 million, but as of today, only 14 percent of the planned figures is funded.

SOURCE: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 28, 2014 – The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum has issued its seasonal outlook for the forthcoming June to August rainy season, factoring in the likely development of an El Niño event which may have significant climatic impacts over parts of Eastern Africa.

June to August constitutes an important rainfall season over the northern sector and the western parts of the equatorial sector of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region. The regional consensus climate outlook indicates increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rainfall over most parts of the northern and equatorial sectors except for parts of north western Ethiopia; south-eastern Uganda and much of South Sudan which have increased likelihood of receiving near normal to above normal rainfall. The rest of the region is expected to remain dry as usual at this time of year.

Factors influencing the climate include sea surface temperatures over western Indian Ocean, together with the atmospheric and oceanic conditions collectively

associated with El Niño. Most models indicate that El Niño – neutral conditions will persist through part of the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014 season (March-May) and most likely transitioning to El Niño during June-August months. WMO is monitoring the situation.

“Past records show depressed rainfall in Northern sector of GHA during strong El Nino years. It should be noted that many parts of the eastern sectors of the GHA received low rainfall during March to May 2014 season. Drought occurrence during the months of June-August would have far reaching consequences,” said the climate outlook.

The climate outlook was issued at the end of the 37th session of the Forum organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC),25-26 May 2014 in Khartoum, Sudan. It brought together national, regional and international climate experts as well as users of climate early warning advisories from sectors such as food security, health and water resources and for disaster risk reduction.

WMO has been supporting Regional Climate Outlook Forums around the world, ever since the inception of the first forum in Southern Africa in 1997. Regional Climate Outlook Forums presently serve more than half the world’s population. WMO is working to ensure that the climate outlook information is reliable and accessible to the user community as part of the Global Framework for Climate Services.

SOURCE: World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Aviation agency warns of inclement weather

LAGOS: THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has alerted airlines operating in the country of impending adverse weather condition which might disrupt flight operations.

The aviation authority also advised passengers travelling along any of the local routes, to expect flight cancellation due to the predicted bad weather conditions.

NCAA in a statement said airline should expect thunderstorms, lightning and turbulence as the rainy season sets in.

According to NCAA, most severe of these weather conditions would be the wind-shear, occurring along the flight path.

The agency warned that this could cause abrupt and substantial displacement of the aircraft from its intended path and could become extremely hazardous for aircraft taking off and landing.

It advised airlines’ pilots to obtain en route/destination weather information before embarking on operation of a flight.

The agency said airlines are required to abort their flight if weather condition was unsafe for operation.

It however advised the airline officials to ensure sustained communication to the affected passengers if and when flight cancellation/delay is anticipated or occurs.

“The passengers are accordingly required to remain calm, avoid violence and confrontation with the airline officials as this measure is to ensure their safety,” NCAA stated.

“The NCAA’s primary responsibility is to ensure safe and secure air transportation in the country. We will, therefore, enjoin intending passengers to exercise restraint/understanding in the event of any weather related cancellations/delays,” the agency added.