Prospects for the 2011/2012 rainfall season in Malawi

SUMMARY: Normal total rainfall amounts are expected over most parts of Malawi during the 2011/2012 rainfall season.

People should expected normal rains by January 2012

Climate scientists from the National Meteorological Services within the SADC region, including Malawi, met from 17th to 28th August 2011 in Windhoek, Namibia. The aim of the meeting was to come up with a consensus forecast for the 2011/2012 rainfall season for the SADC region. This was presented to users at the fifteenth Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-15) which took placefrom 29th to 31st August 2011 at the same venue.

The consensus forecast was prepared using national inputs with additional contributions from International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI, USA), National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP, USA), European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), UK Met Office, and Meteo France. The rainfall seasonal forecast is based on models that use scientifically established relationships between rainfall over Southern Africa and Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the oceans.

While some models continue to predict El Nino/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions which imply neither El Nino nor La Nina, the majority are predicting increasingly negative SSTs (cooling) in the central tropical Pacific Ocean, implying the return of La Nina conditions, up to March 2012.

For Malawi, the consensus outlook indicates that during the period October to December 2011, the northern half of the country has 35% chance of rainfall total being above normal, 40% chance of being normal and 25% chance of being below normal while the Southern half has 25% chance of rainfall total being above normal, 40% chance of being normal and 35% chance of being below normal.

During the period January to March 2012, the northern half of Malawi has 35% chance of rainfall total being above normal, 40% chance of being normal and 25% chance of being below normal while the Southern half has 40% chance of rainfall total being above normal, 35% chance of being normal and 25% chance of being below normal.

Based on the above analysis, the 2011/2012 forecast indicates that from October to December 2011, the northern half of the country will receive normal to above normal total rainfall amounts while the southern half will experience normal to below normal total rainfall amounts. The greater part of the country will experience normal to above normal total rainfall amounts during January to March 2012.

This forecast covers the rainfall season from October 2011 to March 2012 and is relevant only to seasonal time-scales and relatively large areas. It does not fully account for local and month to month variations in distribution of rainfall such as localised dry spells and flash floods.

This seasonal forecast is issued to users as a planning tool. For day to day operations, users are advised to make use of the available short and medium range forecasts and the 10-day Rainfall and Agrometeorological bulletin.

For further information contact: The Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, P.O. Box 1808, Blantyre;    E-mail: metdept@metmalawi.com; Tel: (265) 1 822014; Fax: (265) 1 822215. Website: www.metmalawi.com.

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Christmas Message by Fr. Mario Pacifici

Christmas 2011

Today, 14 December, is my birthday

and I invite you to join me in thanking the Lord

for the simple and great gift of life,

with its joy and sorrows.

Day by day it is a renewed commitment

in order to answer the call to life

to always live with joy and generosity

for donating it in its fullness.

A journalist asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

“What should change in the Church?”

She answered: “You and me”.

The child Jesus is coming again

and with trust we have to ask ourselves

“What can I change in my life,

for the world and the Church to be better?”

“If you accept that

the face of your neighbour is not similar to yours,

accept also that their opinion are different from yours.”

From Malawi the wish that Christmas

will gift the sobriety,

the universal brotherhood

the solidly love

and prepare our refectories

to welcome Jesus with joy

and also who is near and far from us

fr. Mario

Visiting Farmers

The cloud seems promising

As one way of making sure that farmers are practicing good farming methods and that the the farm inputs they are obtained are not sold, the project coordinator Henry Goster and the Agronomist John Martin, are visiting farmers in different areas.

According to the two, the situation in the fields is almost the same. Almost all the farmers have finished weeding as is evidenced in Chipote, Kainga, Njeleka, Mpulula, Kanyumba aka, and Nsaka Villages. The Coordinator has urged the farmers to continue taking care of their fields as they wait for the rains to apply fertilizer.

In Rabson Village and Nankhombe Village for example, the situation has gone worse as the rain is not coming and there is too much sun which has caused the maize to wilt. The Coordinator has advised the farmers to plant again when rains come.

The Coordinator also encouraged groups to continue conducting meetings like Petro group in Nankhombe village where they usually meet every Saturday at the village headman’s house.

Besides maize, It was also noticed that in some villages like Chipote and Njeleka the farmers are growing tomatoes and cotton.

The project has so far managed to visit 11 groups.


A visit to Matola and Mulandula

On 26 November the Coordinator of Get Up Stand Up, Henry Goster and Agronomist John Martin visited Matola village to meet Tisangalale group a newly registered in the project.Although they didn’t meet all the farmers as some were away from their homes. They only visited the fields of those who were present.

According to the coordinator, all the farmers they managed to meet, have already finished weeding as they planted early with the first rains.

The officers also managed to visit Mulandula Group in Mulandula village on 28 November. There, they found that most of the farmers have finished weeding and they will apply the first application of fertilizer soon as the rains have just started after the whole month without.

The Mulandula group has also proved before that they are hard working. Last season, each member harvested not less than 25 bags in a 2 Acres field. Chairman of the group, Felson Macheka harvested 67 bags of maize from a 6 Acres field which he described as “far from his expectations”. He explained that if there was no drought he could have harvested more than 100 bags.

During the visit, it was also noted that some of the farmers have also grown cotton.