The Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Sani Abubakar Marshi has said that Weather and Climate Data Produced by Nimet are Critical for Combating Climate Change.
Prof Marshi said this at the 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) report during the presentation and unveiling of the 2017 Nigerian Climate Review Bulletin by the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika on Tuesday.
In his welcome address the DG stated that “NiMet’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) is part of the Agency’s meteorological Early Warning Systems, containing rainfall and temperature outlook for the year, as well as the possible socio-economic implications of the projected weather patterns”
He further stated that the SRP is designed and updated regularly to provide information for planning and execution of projects and programs in various sectors of the economy, especially those that are sensitive to weather, agriculture, aviation, transportation, infrastructure, construction, telecommunication and water resources are particularly sensitive to weather variability.,
The DG said that the general forecast indicated a normal-to-earlier than normal onset, normal cessation and normal rainfall amounts in many parts of the country and noted that SRP is cardinal in in supporting the FGN’s policy of diversification and vital for protecting life and property, safeguarding the environment and policy formulation.
Prof. Sani Mashi, presented the highlights of the report which had the theme “Seasonal Climate Forecasting for Sustainable Development” and noted that dry spells during the rainy season may be more frequent and severe (10-18 days) in some parts of the extreme North while the ‘Little Dry Season’ or (August break) in parts of the South are expected to be pronounced.
He said again, that the earliest onset date is expected to be from March 1 around the coastal region of the South-South. The onset date changes as we move northwards with areas around Maiduguri, Potiskum and Nguru predicted to have onset from June 1.
“The country is expected to experience normal-to-earlier-than-normal onset. Places like Sokoto, Bauchi, Kaduna, Lafia, Makurdi and Ado-Ekiti, Akure,Calabar and Eket are expected to experience early onset while places like Yelwa, Bida, Abuja, Iseyin, Abeokuta, Lagos Island, Ikeja and Umuahia are likely to experience late onset. Other parts of the country are expected to have normal onset” he stated.
Also, Mashi said that, “the end of 2018 growing season is expected to commence from September 28. The earliest cessation date is expected to start from September 28. This will occur around Sokoto and Katsina. The southern coastal cities, with ample soil moisture should have their cessation as late as December.”
“Cessation of growing season is expected to be normal across most parts of the country. Early cessation is anticipated over Jos, Ibi, Uyo and Ikeja. Cessation will however be little delayed over parts of Ibadan, Ondo and Warri” he noted.
Speaking on the 2018 Little Dry Season (LDS), he added that, “the probability of occurrence of LDS in 2018 is 40 per cent in Iseyin and Enugu while about 60 per cent chance of occurrence is predicted for Abeokuta, Ibadan and Shaki. Ikeja, Lagos Island(Roof),Ilorin , Akure, Ado-Ekiti and Osogbo have chances of occurrence more than 75 per cent in 2018”.
On the socio economic implications, the DG stressed that farmers in Yelwa, Bida and Abuja are advised not to plant early, while farmers around Sokoto, Katsina, Yobe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano and Borno are advised to source for early maturing and drought resistant varieties of seeds to avoid waste of resources.
The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated in his keynote address, that NiMet’s advisory role of providing weather and climate information will enable stakeholders in other sectors to minimize potential risks and damages, or adapt to the effects of weather and climate hazards.
“We have reliably established that losses to extreme weather phenomena could be minimized by using early warning information such as NiMet Seasonal Rainfall Prediction” Sirika noted.
He called on all stakeholders to heed to NiMet’s SRP 2018 and take necessary precautions to reduce the negative impacts, especially on agriculture, water resources and environment.
The Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), is prepared by NiMet before the onset of the raining season every year to provide weather and climate information with regard to the overall performance of the Growing season, while the Climate Review Bulletin is the analysis of the previous year’s prediction of the SRP
The Association of Nigerian Geographers put the SRP 2017 at 93 percent success.
The event was attended by many stakeholders and representatives of relevant professional bodies and institutions which included, The World Meteorological Organisation, British Tobacco Nigerian Foundation, ECOWAS, Senate Committee on Aviation, House Committee on Aviation. Others are the Nigerian Meteorological Society, Nigerian Hydrological Societies and Association of Nigerian Geographers, Representatives Nigerian Universities, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Environment and the media.