Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 132, Issue 3–4, pp 905–919 | Cite as

Uganda rainfall variability and prediction

Original Paper

Abstract

This study analyzes large-scale controls on Uganda’s rainfall. Unlike past work, here, a May–October season is used because of the year-round nature of agricultural production, vegetation sensitivity to rainfall, and disease transmission. The Uganda rainfall record exhibits steady oscillations of ∼3 and 6 years over 1950–2013. Correlation maps at two-season lead time resolve the subtropical ridge over global oceans as an important feature. Multi-variate environmental predictors include Dec–May south Indian Ocean sea surface temperature, east African upper zonal wind, and South Atlantic wind streamfunction, providing a 33% fit to May–Oct rainfall time series. Composite analysis indicates that cool-phase El Niño Southern Oscillation supports increased May–Oct Uganda rainfall via a zonal overturning lower westerly/upper easterly atmospheric circulation. Sea temperature anomalies are positive in the east Atlantic and negative in the west Indian Ocean in respect of wet seasons. The northern Hadley Cell plays a role in limiting the northward march of the equatorial trough from May to October. An analysis of early season floods found that moist inflow from the west Indian Ocean converges over Uganda, generating diurnal thunderstorm clusters that drift southwestward producing high runoff.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Data were analyzed from the KNMI Climate Explorer, IRI Climate Library, NASA Giovanni, Univ Hawaii APDRC, NOAA Ready ARL, and FAS USDA Crop Explorer websites. This work contributes to the Rockefeller Foundation project on climate resilience via the Ethiopia Institute for Agriculture Research in Melkassa.

References

  1. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A, Ferraro R, Xie P, Janowiak J, Rudolf B, Schneider U, Curtis S, Bolvin D, Gruber A, Susskind J, Arkin P (2003) The version 2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979-present). J Hydrometeorol 4:1147–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balas N, Nicholson SE, Klotter D (2007) The relationship of rainfall variability in west central Africa to sea-surface temperature fluctuations. Int J Climatol 27:1335–1349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basalirwa CPK (1995) Delineation of Uganda into climatological rainfall zones using the method of principal component analysis. Int J Climatol 15:1161–1177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behringer DW (2007) The Global Ocean Data Assimilation System (GODAS) at NCEP. Proc. 11th Symp. Integr. Obs. Assim. Systems, San Antonio, TX, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 3.3Google Scholar
  5. Birkett C, Murtugudde R, Allan T (1999) Indian Ocean climate event brings floods to East Africa’s lakes and the Sudd Marsh. Geophys Res Lett 26:1031–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black E, Slingo J, Sperber KR (2003) An observational study of the relationship between excessively strong short rains in coastal East Africa and Indian Ocean SST. Mon Weather Rev 31:74–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Black E (2005) The relationship between Indian Ocean sea-surface temperature and East African rainfall. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. 363A:43–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown E, Sutcliffe JV (2013) The water balance of Lake Kyoga, Uganda. Hydrol Sci J 58:342–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Camberlin P, Janicot S, Poccard I (2001) Seasonality and atmospheric dynamics of the teleconnection between African rainfall and tropical sea-surface temperature: Atlantic vs. ENSO. Int J Climatol 21:973–1005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Camberlin P, Philippon N (2002) The east African March–May rainy season: associated atmospheric dynamics and predictability over the 1968–97 period. J Clim 15:1002–1019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Camberlin P, Moron V, Okoola R, Philippon N, Gitau W (2009) Components of rainy seasons’ variability in equatorial East Africa: onset, cessation, rainfall frequency and intensity. Theor Appl Climatol 98:237–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Conway D, Allison E, Felstead R, Goulden M (2005) Rainfall variability in East Africa: implications for natural resources management and livelihoods. Philos Trans Roy Soc 363A:49–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crétaux JF et al (2011) A lake database to monitor in near real time water level and storage variations from remote sensing data. J Adv Space Res. doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2011.01.004 Google Scholar
  14. FAO (2015) Statistical database accessed: <faostat.fao.org/site/613>
  15. Goddard L, Graham NE (1999) The importance of the Indian Ocean for simulating precipitation anomalies over eastern and southern Africa. J Geophys Res 104:19099–19116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harris I, Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Lister DH (2013) Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations Int. J Climatol. doi: 10.1002/joc.3711 Google Scholar
  17. Hastenrath S (2001) Variations of East African climate during the past two centuries. Clim Chang 50:209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hastenrath S (2007) Circulation mechanisms of climate anomalies in East Africa and the equatorial Indian Ocean. Dyn Atmos Oceans 43:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hastenrath S, Polzin D, Mutai C (2007) Diagnosing the 2005 drought in equatorial East Africa. J Clim 20:4628–4637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hastenrath S, Polzin D, Mute C (2010) Diagnosing the droughts and floods in equatorial East Africa during boreal autumn 2005–08. J Clim 23:813–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huang B et al (2015) Extended reconstructed sea surface temperature version 4 (ERSST.v4). Part I: upgrades and intercomparisons. J Clim 28:911–930CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huete A, Didan K, Miura T, Rodriguez EP, Gao X, Ferreira LG (2002) Overview of the radiometric and biophysical performance of the MODIS vegetation indices. Remote Sens Environ 83:195–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Indeje M, Semazzi FHM, Ogallo LJ (2000) ENSO signals in East African rainfall seasons. Int J Climatol 20:19–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2013) Climate change science the physical basis. In: Stocker TF et al (eds.) Fifth Assessment Report of Working Group I, Cambridge Univ Press, UK, 1535 ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Joyce RJ, Janowiak JE, Arkin PA, Xie PP (2004) CMORPH: a method that produces global precipitation estimates from passive microwave and infrared data at high spatial and temporal resolution. J Hydrometeorol 5:487–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kanamitsu M, Ebisuzaki W, Woollen J, Yang S-K, Hnilo JJ, Fiorino M, Potter GL (2002) NCEP-DOE AMIP-II reanalysis (R-2). Bull Amer Meteor Soc 83:1631–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kennedy JJ, Rayner NA, Smith RO, Saunby M, Parker DE (2011) Reassessing biases and other uncertainties in sea-surface temperature observations since 1850 part 1: measurement and sampling errors. J Geophys Res 116:D14103. doi: 10.1029/2010JD015218 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Latif M, Dommenget D, Dima M, Grotzner A (1999) The role of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature in forcing East African rainfall anomalies during December–January 1997/98. J Clim 12:3497–3504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liebmann B, Smith CA (1996) Description of a complete (interpolated) outgoing longwave radiation dataset. Bull Amer Meteorol Soc 77:1275–1277Google Scholar
  30. Lyon B, DeWitt DG (2012) A recent and abrupt decline in the East African long rains. Geophys Res Lett 39:L02702. doi: 10.1029/2011GL050337 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Monaghan AJ, MacMillan K, Moore SM, Mead PS, Hayden MH, Eisen RJ (2012) A regional climatography of West Nile, Uganda, to support human plague modeling. J Appl Meteor Climatol 51:1201–1221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mutai CC, Ward MN (2000) East African rainfall and the tropical circulation/convection on intraseasonal to interannual timescales. J Clim 13:3915–3939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mutai CC, Ward MN, Colman AW (1998) Towards the prediction of the East Africa short rains based on sea-surface temperature–atmosphere coupling. Int J Climatol 18:975–997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nicholson SE (1996) A review of climate dynamics and climate variability in eastern Africa. Limnol Climatol Paleoclim East African Lakes. In: Johnson TC, Odada EO (eds.) Gordon and Breach, pp 25–56Google Scholar
  35. Nicholson SE, Entekhabi D (1987) Rainfall variability in equatorial and southern Africa: relationship with sea surface temperatures along the southwestern coast of Africa. J Climate Appl Meteor 26:561–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nicholson SE, Kim J (1997) The relationship of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation to African rainfall. Int J Climatol 17:117–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ogallo LJ (1988) Relationships between seasonal rainfall in East Africa and the Southern Oscillation. J Climatol 8:31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Okoola ER (1999) A diagnostic study of the eastern Africa monsoon circulation during the Northern Hemisphere spring season. Int J Climatol 19:143–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Philippon N, Camberlin P, Fauchereau N (2002) Empirical predictability study of October–December East African rainfall. Quart Roy Met Soc 128:2239–2256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Phillips J, McIntyre B (2000) ENSO and interannual variability in Uganda: implications for agricultural management. Int J Climatol 20:171–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Plisnier PD, Serneels S, Lambin EF (2000) Impact of ENSO on East African ecosystems: a multivariate analysis based on climate and remote sensing data. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 9:481–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rienecker MM et al (2011) MERRA: NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications. J Clim 24:3624–3648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Saji NH, Goswami BN, Vinayachandran PN, Yamagata T (1999) A dipole mode in the tropical Indian Ocean. Nature 401:360–363Google Scholar
  44. Schneider U, Becker A, Finger P, Meyer-Christoffer A, Ziese M, Rudolf B (2013) GPCC’s new land surface precipitation climatology based on quality-controlled in-situ data and its role in quantifying the global water cycle. Theor Appl Climatol. doi: 10.1007/s00704-013-0860-x Google Scholar
  45. Tucker CJ, Pinzon JE, Brown ME, Slayback D, Pak EW, Mahoney R, Vermote E, El Saleous N (2005) An extended AVHRR 8-km NDVI data set compatible with MODIS and SPOT vegetation NDVI data. Intl J Remote Sensing 26:4485–5598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ummenhofer CC, Sen Gupta A, England ME, Reason CJC (2009) Contribution of Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures to enhanced East African rainfall. J Clim 22:993–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. USAID (2013) Uganda climate change vulnerability assessment report, ed. P. Caffrey, 78 pp. <community.eldis.org/.5b9bfce3/ARCC-Uganda%20VA-Report.pdf>
  48. Webber BGM, Matthews AJ, Heywood KJ, Stevens DP (2012) Ocean Rossby waves as a triggering mechanism for primary Madden-Julian events. Quart J Roy Met Soc 138:514–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Webster PJ, Moore AM, Loschnig JP, Leben RR (1999) Coupled ocean–atmosphere dynamics in the Indian Ocean during 1997–98. Nature 401:356–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wheeler MC, Hendon HH (2004) An all-season real-time multivariate MJO index: development of an index for monitoring and prediction. Mon Wea Rev 132:1917–1932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. White WB (2000) Coupled Rossby waves in the Indian Ocean on interannual timescales. J Phys Oceanography 30:2972–2988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. World Bank (2015) Statistical database accessed: <data.worldbank.org/country/Uganda>

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics DepartmentUniversity of Puerto RicoMayagüezUSA
  2. 2.University of ZululandKwadlangezwaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations