The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum has predicted that the bulk of the SADC region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for most of the period October to December 2021.
Zimbabwe is expected to receive normal or above rainfall for both the first and the second halves of the summer season.
The forecast comes on the back of a successful 2020-2021 summer cropping season that saw the country recording a bumper harvest for all crops planted including maize and soya bean.
The Twenty-Fifth Annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-25) was held virtually from 30 to 31 August 2021 to present a consensus outlook for the
2021/2022 rainfall season over the SADC region. Climate scientists from the SADC National Meteorological and/or Hydrological Services (NMHSs), the SADC Climate Services Centre (CSC) formulated this Outlook.
The forum says normal to below-normal rains are expected in the north-western part of Angola, bulk of Democratic Republic of Congo, western and southern Madagascar, northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, western fringes of Namibia and South Africa, south-western United Republic of Tanzania and north-eastern Zambia.
The January to March 2022 period is expected to have normal to above normal rainfall for most of the region except for, south-western fringes of Angola, western fringes of Namibia and South Africa.
Additional inputs were acquired from African Centre for Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) and Global Producing Centres (GPCs) namely, European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), South African Weather Service (SAWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Beijing Climate Centre (BCC), Météo-France, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), UK Met Office, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA).
Inputs from International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) were also used in this work.
This Outlook covers the major rainfall season from October 2021 to March 2022. The Outlook is presented in overlapping three monthly periods as follows: October-November-December (OND); November-December January (NDJ); December-January-February (DJF); and January- February-March (JFM).
According to the forum, the Outlook is relevant only to seasonal (overlapping three-monthly) time-scales and relatively large areas and may not fully account for all factors that influence regional and national climate variability, such as local and month-to-month variations (intra-seasonal).
Zimbabwe is however set to come up with its own rainfall outlook through the Meteorological Services Department.