As Below Normal-to-Normal Rainfall Season is Predicted Nationwide.
By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA—With the rise in climate change globally, the Minister of State Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has disclosed that the weather and climate information being produced by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), is critical for combating Climate Change through adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Sirika, who said this on Thursday in Abuja, at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, said that the early release of this vital information before the beginning of rainy season every year is not only to ensure effective harnessing of the climate resource, but to also guarantee minimal losses from associated hazards, which are becoming quite devastating in this era of Climate Change.
He further noted, that the SRP provides useful information for reducing losses, and taking advantage of favourable weather conditions to increase productivity.
According to him, “Long-term climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions commit our planet to a warmer future, with more extreme weather and water shocks. The impacts of climate variability and change are evident to all of us, as manifested, even recently in the 2018 rainy season in Nigeria. Many States were subjected to floods and severe storms with attendant loss of lives and properties”.
He expressed delight that the downscaled prediction covered all the 774 local governments across the length and breadth of the country, adding that it is the first time in history that the Agency has achieved this remarkable feat.
On the weather prediction for 2019,Sirika disclosed that below normal-to-normal rainfall is expected in parts of the Country, adding that the prediction does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in places that are naturally prone to flooding.
“It is also important to note that in every season, dry spells occur and in certain cases, it leads to crop losses. In this regard, I wish to urge our farmers and other stakeholders to get in touch with NiMet to access Meteorological advisories and updates within the growing season” he said.
He further stated that adverse weather and climate conditions directly affect agricultural productivity, livelihoods and every aspect of life, adding also, that it is on records that increase of at least 30% agricultural yields can be achieved if the relevant meteorological information is utilized.
“NiMet has continued to acquire modern weather observing, monitoring and forecasting infrastructure. Studies have shown that despite the increasing number of disasters, with innovative advancement in EWS facilities, the number of casualties can be significantly reduced by 10%”, he remarked.
According to the World Bank, for every dollar invested in early warnings services on weather, about 7dollars is saved from cost of disaster management.
On his part, the Director General/ CEO NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi who explained the 2019 Rainfall Prediction and the 2018 Climate Review, reiterated that the forecast indicates that the country is expected to experience below normal- to- normal rainfall season.
He stated that, “The rains are expected to start late especially in the northern parts of the country while the south-eastern zone as well as the Coastal areas will experience normal onset of the rains. While most of the Northern States will experience earlier than normal end growing season. Shorter length of the growing season is predicted for most parts of the country.
“Also, dry spells during the rainy season will be more frequent and severe (10-18 days) in some parts of the extreme North around June and July, while the ‘Little Dry Season’ or (August break) in parts of the South is expected to be pronounced”.
Following these risk factors, he advised farmers in the affected areas to be careful. “Any body willing to plant in 2019 has to be careful as the earliest cessation will start from September 28, 2019”.
While noting that the performance of the SRP prediction in 2018 was highly accurate, with an overall performance of above 80%, he expressed hopes that the Nigerian communities will record progress in several areas using the SRP for 2019.
The 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction had the theme, “Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart Economy: A Pathway to National Development”.
NiMet embarks on regular weather and climate predictions to help the public mitigate the effects of extreme weather events through Early Warning Systems (EWSs) and it is designed to provide relevant information for planning and execution of projects and programs in various sectors of the economy, especially those that are sensitive to weather.