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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 9, No. 9, 2010, pp. 1824-1844
Bioline Code: nd09107
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 9, No. 9, 2010, pp. 1824-1844

 en Effects Of June Winds On Rainfall In The Coastal Region Of Kenya
Muti, SM & Ng'etich, W

Abstract

Although the equatorial Eastern region of Africa is adjacent to the Indian Ocean, it tends to exhibit a drier climate rather than one characterized by abundant tropical rains. A number of studies on rainfall variability in the East African region have tended to suggest a stronger influence of local factors in controlling rainfall amounts and their characteristics rather than the global wind circulation system. A climatic phenomenon that is locally termed "June winds" is unique to East Africa's coastal region. The study mainly involved analysing rainfall anomalies and means of 39- year meteorological data from the region and data from earlier studies about the region. The results indicate that June winds occur annually after the onset of long rains between the months of May and June. They impart subsidence, drying and cloud free conditions, altering the climatological properties in the areas they traverse. The attainment of peak June wind velocities causes a characteristic depression in rainfall probability and amounts on their course, similar to the ‘Ganges depression' of temperatures in the Indian subcontinent, which in turn affects available soil moisture for crop growth. The results also reveal existence of years of "above-normal rains" (herein referred to as El Niño years) and years of "below-normal rains" (herein referred to as La Niña years) which are associated and modulated by El Niño southern oscillation. They also reveal that drought years tend to occur in succession and that the June winds tend to be suppressed or absent during El Niño years, but strongly associate with La Niña years. The study suggests that the frequency and therefore the ratio of La Niña years to El Niño years have been increasing. The study also suggests possibility of developing a decision support system for farmers in resource use and allocation based predicted time of occurrence of the June winds.

Keywords
Low level, Jet, Rainfall, Kenya

 
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