Gloomy Weather Forecast from NIMET

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The Nigeria Metrological Agency has predicted that extreme weather conditions will cause discomfort as the country will likely witness below normal rainfall and a high level of humidity

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

NIGERIANS, in particular farmers and hydro power producers are being asked to brace up to face the extreme weather conditions that will likely occur this year. The Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET, has predicted that there will be below normal rainfall and extreme weather conditions that will cause discomfort and have adverse effects on agriculture in most parts of the country in 2014.

At the annual public presentation of NIMET’s 2014 seasonal rainfall prediction, SRP, held recently in Abuja, Anthony Anuforom, director-general, NIMET, said the south-east and south-west parts of the country might experience delayed onset of rainfall while certain areas would have low comfort index because of high level of humidity and temperature.

According to him, “Cessation of rains from the ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillations) signals shows that the level of humidity and temperature will be high in March and April. Overall, we may have shorter than normal rainy season. This would advise the farmers to use early maturing crops for the short rainy season.”

The rainfall and temperature patterns had socio-economic implications on various sectors of the economy. The Kainji and Jebba areas would witness low rainfall which could result in low flows and reduced power generation from the Kainji and Kabba dams. Dams in the far northern part of the country mayt have difficulties getting enough flow of water due to less rain expected this year.

The 2014 SRP predicts that the rainy season may end between the first week of October in the north and fourth week of December in the south. On whether there will be floods this year, the NIMET boss said that flooding is caused by interplay of both human and natural factors since rainfall alone does not necessarily cause floods.  He called for the strengthening of communication facilities that deliver science-based climate information to Nigerians who are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

In his speech, Samuel Ortom, supervising minister of aviation, said the importance of NIMET’s predictions could be seen from the damage caused by the 2012 floods that hit most parts of Nigeria. Ortom, who is also the minister of state for trade and investments, said that the 2012 floods killed 363 persons, injured 5, 851 persons, displaced 3, 871, 530 and caused a total damage cost of about N2.6 trillion. “The provision of early warning information to the public is one of the most effective measures for reducing weather and climate disaster risks,” he said.

On what the federal government is doing to mitigate the effects of climate change, Ortom said that an inter-ministerial committee had developed a national framework for the application of climate services for early warning on climate related issues.

Also, the Community Emergency Response Initiative, CERI, a non-governmental organisation, NGO, has urged the public to brace up to the likely effects of 2014 seasonal rainfall prediction made by NIMET. Benson Attah, executive director, CERI, told journalists that the prediction would assist in climate change mitigation. “It is always good that we are alerted and there is need now to put all hands on deck to ensure that we work on the reality to avert any consequence from the prediction.”

Attah urged the public not to ignore the prediction because the 2013 editions did not occur as expected. He urged other stakeholders in the sector to intensify efforts in their sensitisation programmes to create more awareness on the likely effects of climate change. He also called on the federal government to provide an alternative toward addressing any effect the prediction would have on agriculture.

He said the prediction which advised farmers to use early maturing species in their cropping, also said that livestock production was most likely to be affected except, if adequate preventive measures were taken. Attah stated that the public should also be concerned about the usual extreme climate events observed from climate variables. He called for improved sanitation, adding that the public must expect some level of discomfort as heat and extreme cold- related ailments would be prevalent. According to him, the prediction will assist health practitioners and governments to make contingency plans in the event of disease outbreak.

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