Temporal rainfall trend analysis in different agro-ecological regions of southern Africa

Authors

  • W Mupangwa International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, ILRI Sholla Campus, P O Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • R Makanza International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, PO Box MP 163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • L Chipindu International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, PO Box MP 163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • M Moeletsi 1. Agricultural Research Council, Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, Private Bag X79, Pretoria 0001, South Africa; 2. Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, Polokwane 0727, South Africa
  • S Mkuhlani 1. Climate Systems Analysis Group, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa; 2. International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) c/o ICIPE, PO Box 30772-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • F Liben Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
  • I Nyagumbo International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, PO Box MP 163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • M Mutenje International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, PO Box MP 163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/wsa/2021.v47.i4.3844

Keywords:

agriculture risk, drought, rainfall distribution, rainfed agriculture

Abstract

Rainfall is a major driver of food production in rainfed smallholder farming systems. This study was conducted to assess linear trends in (i) different daily rainfall amounts (<5, 5–10, 11–20, 21–40 and >40 mm∙day-1), and (ii) monthly and seasonal rainfall amounts. Drought was determined using the rainfall variability index. Daily rainfall data were derived from 18 meteorological stations in southern Africa. Daily rainfall was dominated by <5 mm∙day-1 followed by 5–10 mm∙day-1. Three locations experienced increasing linear trends of <5 mm∙day-1 amounts and two others in sub-humid region had increases in the >40 mm day-1 category. Semi-arid location experienced increasing trends in <5 and 5–10 mm∙day-1 events. A significant linear trend in seasonal rainfall occurred at two locations with decreasing rainfall (1.24 and 3 mm∙season-1). A 3 mm∙season-1 decrease in seasonal rainfall was experienced under semi-arid conditions. There were no apparent linear trends in monthly and seasonal rainfall at 15 of the 18 locations studied. Drought frequencies varied with location and were 50% or higher during the November–March growing season. Rainfall trends were location and agro-ecology specific, but most of the locations studied did not experience significant changes between the 1900s and 2000s.

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Published

2021-10-28

How to Cite

W Mupangwa, R Makanza, L Chipindu, M Moeletsi, S Mkuhlani, F Liben, I Nyagumbo, & M Mutenje. (2021). Temporal rainfall trend analysis in different agro-ecological regions of southern Africa . Water SA, 47(4 October). https://doi.org/10.17159/wsa/2021.v47.i4.3844

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Section

Research paper