UNMA normally issues timely seasonal climate forecasts just before the beginning of each rainfall season in Uganda. The seasons are March, April and May (MAM), June, July and August (JJA) and September, October, November and December (SOND). The climate forecast in every season provides indications of the expected performance of seasonal rains including the onset and cessation dates and proposed advisories for the different sectors of the economy. The expected impacts from the forecast are also highlighted for the purposes of advancing appropriate safeguarding planning strategies and decision making for various sectors.
The MAM period constitutes the first major rainfall season over Uganda and overall, there is an increased probability for above normal rainfall for western sector of Uganda, normal rainfall for central, Lake Victoria Basin, south-eastern, and central-northern Uganda, and below normal rainfall for Karamoja region and some parts of Lango and Acholi regions. It should be noted that the onset of seasonal rains is expected to be characterised by thunderstorms and hailstorms over some parts of the country as well as dry-spells during the course of the seasonal rainfall performance.
During the 45th Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 5 to 8th February 2017, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the state of the global climate system and its implications on the seasonal rainfall over the East African region. It was observed that the major physical conditions likely to influence the weather conditions over Uganda and the rest of the East African region for the forecast period of March to May 2017 are as follows:
Based on the above considerations as well as details of the climatology of Uganda and scientific tools for climate analysis, Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in the Ministry of Water and Environment, has come up with the detailed forecast issued on 17th day of February 2017 for March, April and May (MAM) 2017 period: March to May 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Forecast.
The Highest significant wave height of 19 meters (62.3 feet) measured by a buoy in the North Atlantic has been certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) expert committee as a new world record significant wave height. The wave was taller than a six-storey building. It was recorded by an automated buoy at 0600 UTC on 4th February 2013 in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and the United Kingdom (approximately 59° N, 11° W). According to WMO Expert committee, this wave was due to the passage of a very strong cold front, which produced winds of up to 43.8 knots (50.4 miles per hour) over the area.
Representational Image. (Source: REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich)
The previous record of 18.275 meters (59.96 feet) was measured on 8th December 2007, also in the North Atlantic. The WMO Commission for Climatology’s Extremes Evaluation Committee classified it as“the highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy”. The Committee consisted of scientists from the United Kingdom, Britain, Canada, the United States of America and Spain.
“This is the first time we have ever measured a wave of 19 meters. It is a remarkable record,” said WMO Assistant Secretary-General Wenjian Zhang. “It highlights the importance of meteorological and ocean observations and forecasts to ensure the safety of the global maritime industry and to protect the lives of crew and passengers on busy shipping lanes,” he said. Dr. Zhang also recognized the need for high quality and extensive ocean records to help in our understanding of weather/ocean interactions. He further said that, “despite the huge strides in satellite technology, the sustained observations and data records from moored and drifting buoys and ships still play a major role in this respect”.
The new world record will be added to the official WMO archive of weather and climate extremes which is being constantly updated and expanded thanks to continued improvements in instrumentation, technology and analysis.
September to December period constitutes the second major rainfall season in Uganda. During the 44th Climate Outlook Forum (COF44) for the Greater Horn of Africa that was held at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo from 29th to 30th August 2016, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the current state of the global climate systems and their implications on the seasonal rainfall over the east African region. It was observed that the major physical conditions that are likely to influence the evolution of weather conditions over Uganda and the rest of the region for the forecast period of September to December 2016 will be mostly La Niña conditions over equatorial eastern pacific Ocean that are predicted to persist during the rest of the 2016 and early months of 2017. It should be noted that when La Niña occurs, most parts of Uganda receive suppressed rainfall. Other conditions include:-
Based on the current La Niña conditions as well as details of the climatology and scientific tools for climate analysis, Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in the Ministry of Water and Environment, has come up with the detailed forecast as illustrated in the figure below:
The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recently appreciated the work being done by Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in providing weather and climate information to the public and specific advisories to farmers and relevant sectors.
UNMA got this approval when honored by a visit from the President during the 24th source of the Nile Agriculture and Trade exhibition, in Jinja that was held from the 11th to the 17th of July, 2016.
After addressing the exhibitors at the main VIP hall, the President returned to the UNMA stall where he released the hydrogen inflated weather balloon amidst cheers of workers and exhibitors. The President later took time to talk to the Management and staff of UNMA who included the Chairperson BoD, Dr. Robert K. Rutaagi, the Executive Director, Mr. Festus Luboyera, Board Member Ms. Anita Kigonya, and staff.The President first visited UNMA stall while touring the different exhibition stalls and chatted with the staff who were led by the Manager, Training and Research, Ms. Margaret Nankya Serwanja where he was given the June, July, August (JJA) seasonal outlook booklet that he went with and later, was seen referring to it to sensitize the big farmers at different stalls.
Eager and excited Management and staff of UNMA wait for the President’s visit, and the release of the hydrogen inflated weather balloon by the President
The forecast period (June, July and August) is generally part of the dry season over most parts of southwestern, central, Lake Victoria basin and some parts of eastern region but a continuation of rainfall season for much of the northern Uganda. Following the conclusion of the 43rd Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa held in Naivasha, Kenya from 30th – 31st May 2016, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the state of the global climate system and its implications on the seasonal rainfall over the East African region. It was observed that the major physical conditions likely to influence the weather conditions of Uganda and the rest of the region for the forecast period of June to August 2016 are as follows:
UNMA therefore predicts that for the season June to August (JJA) 2016, overall there is an increased likelihood of near normal tending to above normal rainfall over the northern and some parts of eastern region, while the rest of the country is expected to experience below normal rainfall punctuated with occasional light rainfall.