The 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) is in fulfillment of the department’s responsibility to provide timely and reliable weather/climate information and services to all weather sensitive sectors of the economy.
Such information is used for strategic planning and for climate-smart decisions and practices which could bring about reduction of losses from adverse weather, minimise disasters and maximise output for key sectors such as Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Transportation, Budget, Planning, Health, Communication, Power, Construction and Tourism among others.
Like previous years, the 2020 SRP is produced based on the strong tele-connection between the state of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures and rainfall systems/pattern in The Gambia, otherwise called the El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) tele-connection.
According to DWR, the 2020 prediction is based on only a single phase of ENSO (Cold Phase or La-Nina) which has been predicted to dominate and persist through a long period of the season from May 2020 to July-August-September 2020 season with high probability (above 52 percent).
It added that the consequence of a cold phase will result into normal to above normal rainfall season.
The department predicted that annual rainfall amount will very likely be above normal in the country for the entire period of July, August and September, based on the evolution of the Sea Surface Temperatures over the North and South Tropical Atlantic Ocean and Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
It added that “most places in the country are, however, predicted to experience above normal annual rainfall with the highest amount above 1000mm expected in the western sector of the country (WCR, NBR and GBA). Amount in the range of 800 - 950mm is very likely over the rest of the country”.
The latest figures of the forecast indicate a 45% chance of above normal rainfall, 40% chance of near-normal rainfall and 15% chance for below normal rainfall.
Rainfall onset in 2020 is predicted to begin in the Eastern sector (URR & CRR) of the country by June 12 and likely to be delayed up till June 24 in the Western sector (LRR, NBR, WCR & GBA) of the country.
Rainfall Cessation in 2020 is predicted to be delayed than normal in most parts of the country by October 16.
A longer than normal length of season is predicted for most parts of the country. It is expected to be in the range of 110-120 days.
The forecast also said that hazards associated with 2020 seasonal rainfall prediction will include very likely early to near normal onset over much of the country, heavy precipitation potentially leading to floods, and dry spells during the season.
It therefore said the amount of rainfall expected over most parts of the country should be sufficient to favour agricultural production, if crop varieties resistant to rainfall surplus are sowed.