Analysis of Rainfall Variability for Mekelle Meteorological Station, Northern Ethiopia (1960-2009)

Girmay Abreha Weldesenbet


Nowadays rainfall variability is threatening the world. Despite this, studies related to the determination of variations, trends and fluctuations of rainfall have little local and regional specificity. Hence, this study aimed to analyze the trend and variability of the annual and seasonal rainfall occurrence at Mekelle Airport meteorological station, Northern Ethiopia. Historical rainfall data for the period 1960-2009 of the rain gauge station were obtained from National Meteorological Service Agency. Annual, seasonal and monthly rainfall trends; onset and cessation date of kiremt rainfall; growing period length and the number of rainy days and dry spell length were considered. Standardize anomaly index (SAI) and coefficient of variance was employed to analyze the rainfall data variability using INSTAT plus, SPSS version 20 and Excel. Analysis of the historical data showed extremely severe drought happened in the area in 1984 which resulted in the death of one million people, 8 million people highly affected, and 2.3 million people food in secured. 1961 was an extremely wet year. Generally, 70%, 18% and 12% years were normal, dry and wet respectively for the last 50 years. High annual, seasonal and monthly rainfall variability was observed. Though the station showed both increasing (1984-1988) and decreasing trends (1961-1968) of annual rainfall totals a declining trend was more pronounced. Besides, one to two weeks variability on the onset and cessation date was observed. The minimum and maximum kiremt season rainy days recorded in 1987 (27days) and 1986 (86 days) respectively while the maximum dry spell days recorded in the 50 years was in 1969. Thus, devising agronomic practices that retain moisture at the plant root zone and reduce crop failure due to variability of rainfall including extended dry spell could be important.

Keywords Rainfall variability, trends, standard anomaly index, Mekelle

DOI: 10.7176/CER/11-9-02

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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