Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 112, Issue 3–4, pp 535–551 | Cite as

Recent drought and precipitation tendencies in Ethiopia

Original Paper

Abstract

In 2011, drought in the Horn of Africa again made news headlines. This study aims to quantify the meteorological component of this and other drought episodes in Ethiopia since 1971. A monthly precipitation data set for 14 homogeneous rainfall zones was constructed based on 174 gauges, and the standardized precipitation index was calculated on seasonal, annual, and biannual time scales. The results point to 2009 as a year of exceptionally widespread drought. All zones experienced drought at the annual scale, although in most zones, previous droughts were more extreme. Nationally, 2009 was the second driest year, surpassed only by the historic year 1984. Linear regression analysis indicates a precipitation decline in southern Ethiopia, during both February–May and June–September. In central and northern Ethiopia, the analysis did not provide evidence of similar tendencies. However, spring droughts have occurred more frequently in all parts of Ethiopia during the last 10–15 years.

References

  1. Addis K (2009) Drought and famine: Ethiopia's cycle continues. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1915544,00.html. Accessed 14 October 2011
  2. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A, Ferraro R, Xie P-P, Janowiak J, Rudolf B, Schneider U, Curtis S, Bolvin D, Gruber A, Susskind J, Arkin P, Nelkin E (2003) The version-2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979-present). J Hydrometeorol 4(6):1147–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berrisford P, Dee D, Fielding K, Fuentes M, Kållberg PW, Kobayashi S, Uppala SM (2009) The ERA-Interim archive. ERA report series, vol 1. ECMWF, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  4. Bewket W, Conway D (2007) A note on the temporal and spatial variability of rainfall in the drought-prone Amhara region of Ethiopia. Int J Climatol 27(11):1467–1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhalla N (2000) Children die in Ethiopian drought. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/696160.stm. Accessed 20 December 2011
  6. Broad K, Agrawala S (2000) Climate: the Ethiopia food crisis—uses and limits of climate forecasts. Science 289(5485):1693–1694Google Scholar
  7. CERF (2006) CERF in Ethiopia 2006. Central Emergency Response Fund. http://ochaonline.un.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1755. Accessed 20 December 2011
  8. Cheung WH, Senay GB, Singh A (2008) Trends and spatial distribution of annual and seasonal rainfall in Ethiopia. Int J Climatol 28(13):1723–1734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Conway D (2000) The climate and hydrology of the Upper Blue Nile River. Geogr J 166(1):49–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Conway D, Bewket CMW (2004) Over one century of rainfall and temperature observations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Int J Climatol 24(1):77–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conway D, Schipper ELF (2011) Adaptation to climate change in Africa: challenges and opportunities identified from Ethiopia. Glob Environ Chang 21(1):227–237. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.07.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Degefu W (1987) Some aspects of meteorological drought in Ethiopia. In: Glantz MH (ed) Drought and hunger in Africa. Denying famine a future. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Dinku T, Ceccato P, Grover-Kopec E, Lemma M, Connor SJ, Ropelewski CF (2007) Validation of satellite rainfall products over East Africa's complex topography. Int J Remote Sensing 28(7):1503–1526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edossa D, Babel M, Das Gupta A (2010) Drought analysis in the Awash River Basin, Ethiopia. Water Resour Manag 24(7):1441–1460. doi:10.1007/s11269-009-9508-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards DC, McKee TB (1997) Characteristics of 20th century drought in the United States at multiple time scales. Atmospheric science paper. Colorado State University, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Fort Collins, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  16. Findlater J (1969a) Interhemispheric transport of air in the lower troposphere over the western Indian Ocean. Q J Royal Meteorol Soc 95(404):400–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Findlater J (1969b) A major low-level air current near the Indian Ocean during the northern summer. Q J R Meteorol Soc 95(404):362–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Findlater J (1977) Observational aspects of the low-level cross-equatorial jet stream of the western Indian Ocean. Pur Appl Geophys 115(5):1251–1262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Flohn H (1987) Rainfall teleconnections in northern and northeastern Africa. Theor Appl Climatol 38(4):191–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Funk C, Asfaw A, Steffen P, Senay GB, Rowland J, Verdin J (2003) Estimating Meher crop production using rainfall in the 'long cycle' region of Ethiopia. FEWS-NET Special Report. USGS/FEWS/USAIDGoogle Scholar
  21. Funk C, Senay G, Asfaw A, Verdin J, Rowland J, Korecha D, Eilerts G, Michaelsen J, Amer S, Choularton R (2005) Recent drought tendencies in Ethiopia and equatorial-subtropical eastern Africa. FEWS NET, vol 1.Google Scholar
  22. Funk C, Dettinger MD, Michaelsen JC, Verdin JP, Brown ME, Barlow M, Hoell A (2008) Warming of the Indian Ocean threatens eastern and southern African food security but could be mitigated by agricultural development. PNAS 105:11081–11087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gebrehiwot T, van der Veen A, Maathuis B (2011) Spatial and temporal assessment of drought in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. Int J Appl Earth Obs Geoinf 13(3):309–321. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2010.12.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Griffiths JF (ed) (1972) Ethiopian highlands, vol 10. World survey of climatology. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  25. Guttman NB (1999) Accepting the standardized precipitation index: a calculation algorithm. JAWRA J Am Water Resour Assoc 35(2):311–322. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.1999.tb03592.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harrison GA (ed) (1988) Famine. Biosocial Society Symposium Series, vol 1. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Huffman GJ, Adler RF, Bolvin DT, Gu G (2009) Improving the global precipitation record: GPCP version 2.1. Geophys Res Lett 36(L17808). doi:10.1029/2009gl040000
  28. Husak GJ, Michaelsen J, Funk C (2007) Use of the gamma distribution to represent monthly rainfall in Africa for drought monitoring applications. Int J Climatol 27(7):935–944. doi:10.1002/joc.1441 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Korecha D, Barnston AG (2007) Predictability of June-September rainfall in Ethiopia. Mon Weather Rev 135(2):628–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leroux M (2001) The meteorology and climate of tropical Africa, 2nd edn. Springer, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  31. Levin NE, Zipser EJ, Cerling TE (2009) Isotopic composition of waters from Ethiopia and Kenya: insights into moisture sources for eastern Africa. J Geophys Res 114(D23306). doi:10.1029/2009jd012166
  32. Lloyd-Hughes B, Saunders MA (2002) A drought climatology for Europe. Int J Climatol 22(13):1571–1592. doi:10.1002/joc.846 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mattsson JO, Rapp A (1991) The recent droughts in Western Ethiopia and Sudan in a climatic context. Ambio 20(5):172–175Google Scholar
  34. McCann JC (1990) A great agrarian cycle? Productivity in highland Ethiopia, 1900 to 1987. J Interdiscip Hist 20(3):389–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McKee TB, Doesken NJ, Kleist J (1993) The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scales. Paper presented at the Eighth Conference on Applied Climatology, Anaheim, California, 17–22 January 1993Google Scholar
  36. Meze-Hausken E (2004) Contrasting climate variability and meteorological drought with perceived drought and climate change in northern Ethiopia. Clim Res 27:13–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mishra AK, Singh VP (2010) A review of drought concepts. J Hydrol 391(1–2):202–216. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.07.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mohamed YA, van den Hurk BJJM, Savenije HHG, Bastiaanssen WGM (2005) Hydroclimatology of the Nile: results from a regional climate model. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 9:263–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nebehay S (2011) Worst drought in 60 years hitting Horn of Africa: U.N. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/28/us-africa-drought-idUSTRE75R2JQ20110628. Accessed 20 December 2011
  40. Nicholson SE (1986) The spatial coherence of African rainfall anomalies: interhemispheric teleconnections. J Climate Appl Meteorol 25(10):1365–1381. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1986)025<1365:tscoar>2.0.co;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ntale HK, Gan TY (2003) Drought indices and their application to East Africa. Int J Climatol 23(11):1335–1357. doi:10.1002/joc.931 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Palmer WC (1965) Meteorological drought, vol 45. U.S. Weather Bureau Research Paper Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  43. Riddle EE, Cook KH (2008) Abrupt rainfall transitions over the Greater Horn of Africa: observations and regional model simulations. J Geophys Res 113(D15109):14Google Scholar
  44. Segele ZT, Lamb PJ (2005) Characterization and variability of Kiremt rainy season over Ethiopia. Meteorog Atmos Phys 89(1):153–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Segele ZT, Lamb PJ, Leslie LM (2009) Large-scale atmospheric circulation and global sea surface temperature associations with Horn of Africa June-September rainfall. Int J Climatol 29(8):1075–1100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Seleshi Y, Camberlin P (2006) Recent changes in dry spell and extreme rainfall events in Ethiopia. Theor Appl Climatol 83:181–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Seleshi Y, Zanke U (2004) Recent changes in rainfall and rainy days in Ethiopia. Int J Climatol 24(8):973–983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sen A (1981) Poverty and famines: an essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  49. Shang H, Yan J, Gebremichael M, Ayalew SM (2011) Trend analysis of extreme precipitation in the northwestern highlands of Ethiopia with a case study of Debre Markos. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 15(6):1937–1944. doi:10.5194/hess-15-1937-2011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shanko D, Camberlin P (1998) The effects of the Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones on Ethiopian drought. Int J Climatol 18(12):1373–1388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Simmons AJ, Uppala SM, Dee D, Kobayashi S (2006) ERA-Interim: new ECMWF reanalysis products from 1989 onwards. ECMWF Newsl 110:25–35Google Scholar
  52. Torry W (1986) Economic development, drought, and famines: some limitations of dependency explanations. GeoJournal 12(1):5–18. doi:10.1007/bf00213018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Trenberth KE, Stepaniak DP, Caron JM (2002) Accuracy of atmospheric energy budgets from analyses. J Climate 15(23):3343–3360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Uppala SM, Dee D, Kobayashi S, Berrisford P, Simmons AJ (2008) Towards a climate data assimilation system: status update of ERA-Interim. ECMWF Newsletter. ECMWF, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  55. USAID/FEWS (2011) East Africa: past year one of the driest on record in the eastern Horn.Google Scholar
  56. Viste E, Sorteberg A (2011) Moisture transport into the Ethiopian highlands. Int J Climatol. doi:10.1002/joc.3409
  57. Viste E, Sorteberg A (2012) The effect of moisture transport variability on Ethiopian summer precipitation. Int J Climatol. doi:10.1002/joc.3566
  58. Webb P, Braun J (1994) Famine and food security in Ethiopia. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  59. Webb P, Braun Jv, Yohannes Y (1992) Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels. Research Reports, vol 92. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  60. Williams A, Funk C (2011) A westward extension of the warm pool leads to a westward extension of the Walker circulation, drying eastern Africa. Clim Dyn 37(11–12):2417–2435. doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0984-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Williams A, Funk C, Michaelsen J, Rauscher S, Robertson I, Wils T, Koprowski M, Eshetu Z, Loader N (2011) Recent summer precipitation trends in the Greater Horn of Africa and the emerging role of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature. Climate Dynamics. doi:10.1007/s00382-011-1222-y
  62. World Bank (2005) Well-being and poverty in ethiopia. The role of agriculture and agency. Poverty Reduction and Economic Management 2 (AFTP2). World BankGoogle Scholar
  63. Wu H, Hayes MJ, Wilhite DA, Svoboda MD (2005) The effect of the length of record on the standardized precipitation index calculation. Int J Climatol 25(4):505–520. doi:10.1002/joc.1142 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wu H, Svoboda MD, Hayes MJ, Wilhite DA, Wen F (2007) Appropriate application of the standardized precipitation index in arid locations and dry seasons. Int J Climatol 27(1):65–79. doi:10.1002/joc.1371 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yue S, Pilon P, Cavadias G (2002) Power of the Mann–Kendall and Spearman's rho tests for detecting monotonic trends in hydrological series. J Hydrol 259(1–4):254–271. doi:10.1016/s0022-1694(01)00594-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Viste
    • 1
  • Diriba Korecha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Asgeir Sorteberg
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.National Meteorological AgencyAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations