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Cablegate: Climate Outlook for September ? December 2006

VZCZCXYZ0031
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4155/01 2681304
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251304Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4496
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 8787
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 6936
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1727
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 4846
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4364
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1568
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0606
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 4515
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5006
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3995
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6984

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004155

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AID/DCHA FOR WGARVELINK, LROGERS
DCHA/OFDA FOR GGOTTLIEB, PMORRIS, SSTOKAR
DCHA/FFP FOR JDWORKEN, TANDERSON, CMUTAMBA, GEILERTS
AFR/EA FOR JBORNS, SMCCLURE, KNELSON
AFR/SD HLIGHTFOOT, FSANDS
ROME FOR FODAG RNEWBERG
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
ADDIS ABABA FOR MJENNINGS, SPOLAND
BUJUMBURA FOR RLUNEBURG
DAR ES SALAAM FOR TMCANDREWS
KAMPALA FOR WWELZ, DMUTAZINDWA
KHARTOUM FOR JPOOLE, KLAUER
KIGALI FOR RWASHBURN, SVENANT
NAIROBI FOR JMYER, MTSEGAYE, MHALL
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KE
SUBJECT: CLIMATE OUTLOOK FOR SEPTEMBER ? DECEMBER 2006
AND ITS EXPECTED POTENTIAL IMPACT ON FOOD SECURITY IN
THE GREATER HORN OF AFRICA

SUMMARY

1. This is a joint cable prepared by FEWSNET Nairobi
and USAID/East Africa?s Food for Peace Office.
USAID/EA/FFP and Regional Economic Growth and
Integration (REGI) Offices attended the 18th Climate
Outlook Forum (COF) August 31 ? September 1, 2006 in
Nairobi, Kenya. It was convened by the Inter-
Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate
Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in
collaboration with the National Meteorological Services
of most of the 10 member countries, and various other
partners. [Note: ICPAC received support from
USAID/OFDA (this support is now ending) and has
continued institutional strengthening support from
USAID/EA REGI Office. End Note.] The objective was to
formulate consensus guidance for the September-December
2006 rainfall season in the Greater Horn of Africa
(GHA). This forum convenes semi-annually, and
participants review the state of the global climate
system and its implications for seasonal climate in the
GHA sub-region. Major factors taken into account
include the observed and predicted Sea Surface
Temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific Ocean and
over much of the tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean,
which are known to have a bearing on the upcoming
weather in the GHA. The Climate Outlook is summarized
in para(s) 5-7. End Summary.

COMMENT

2. The semi-annual COF meetings are an important
occasion for African, Africa-based and foreign climate
experts and stakeholders to consult with each other.
The resulting forecast represents a consensus and is
the result of a great deal of research and analysis.
Information this year has helped provide an effective
early warning to stakeholders, including USAID, that
rainfall patterns in the Horn of Africa and have
informed relief operations.

3. The climate predictions are also relevant to other
sectors: ICPAC products contribute to monitoring,
prediction, early warning and mitigation of adverse
impacts of extreme climatic events on agricultural
production and food security, water resources, energy,
and livestock and human health among other socio-
economic sectors. The activities of the Centre also
include capacity building for climate scientists and
users alike.

4. ICPAC represents an important successful investment
by several USAID operating units, mainly DCHA/OFDA and
USAID/EA/REGI, which serves the needs of early warning
in the context of an effective regional context, and
complements the role of FEWSNET. ICPAC is a partnership
synergizer, as partnership in all these results and
potential results is key.

CLIMATE OUTLOOK AND POTENTIAL IMPACT ON FOOD SECURITY

5. The short-rains (September ? December) season
constitutes an important rainfall season over much of
the equatorial sector of the GHA sub-region. This is
the second rainfall season, after the long-rains (March
? May) rainfall season.

6. Overall, the seasonal rainfall forecast for short-
rains is generally favorable, as the forecast indicates
an increased likelihood for normal seasonal rainfall
performance for most parts of the GHA sub-region. This
means favorable conditions for crop, pasture and water
resources replenishment for both the agricultural and
pastoral livelihoods in the region. This could ensure
the gradual recovery process for the drought affected
pastoralists communities.

7. In areas where there is the increased likelihood
for above normal to normal rainfall in central
highlands of Ethiopia, Lake Victoria basin and along
the East African coast and parts of northern Kenya
there is an increased flood risk in perennial flood
prone areas along the Juba, Shabelle river basins in
Somalia, Nyando river basin and parts of the Kenya
coastal strip. Most seasonal forecasts indicate that
the rains are expected to intensify in the months of
November and December, and therefore the flood risk
maybe more pronounced during these two months. This
could affect negatively the overall good crop
prospects. Flooding could also pose health problems,
such as increases in water-borne diseases and malaria
incidences.

8. More specifically, this forecast depicts prospects
for a near normal crop production for much of the
short-rains dependent areas in GHA. The short-rains
crop production account for about 15% of the annual
Kenya crop production and 25-35% for Somalia. Although
these rains do not seem to account much for the
national annual crop production for most of the GHA
countries they are especially important to marginal
agriculture in Kenya, as they are the most reliable and
highly depended on. For the pastoralists, they are also
particularly important in breaking the June ? September
dry season.

METHODLOGY

9. This favorable forecast is based on the development
of a weak El-Nino episode, occasioned by the mild
anomalous warming of Sea Surface Temperatures (SST?s)
in eastern Pacific Ocean, coupled with the warming of
the central Indian Ocean, which is conducive to good
rains. The current weak El-Nino event in development
will require close monitoring in coming months to
ascertain its potential impact in the sub-region.

CONCLUSION

10. If the forecast holds, then, we are likely to see
a decline in populations needing humanitarian
assistance, especially among the farming communities on


the eastern sector of the GHA.

11. If the forecast does not hold and below normal
rainfall performance (worst-case scenario) does occur,
then the pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and marginal
agricultural populations, especially in southeastern
Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya and most of
Somalia will significantly be affected, worsening the
current food and humanitarian crises in the region.

RANNEBERGER

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