The influence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans on wet and dry spells over southern Tanzania

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Rainfall over Tanzania is highly variable. In recent decades the country has been devastated by floods and droughts. The Tanzanian population relies heavily on seasonal rainfall. Over the northern part of the country, the rainy season occurs in two phases, the short rains (October-December) and the long rains (March - May). Over the southern and the western areas, the rainy season occurs during November - May. This study aims at identifying factors that may playa role in the rainfall variability over the southern region of Tanzania. This study indicates that over the Indian Ocean, the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the northeast of Madagascar have a strong relationship with the rainfall in southern Tanzania during the OND rainfall, while the SSTs over the southeast Atlantic have a strong relationship during the JFM rainfall. It has also been revealed that the El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) have influence on rainfall variability over the region. The warm/cold ENSO events would impact both a wet or dry year. Such contradiction has imposed a challenge to the forecasters of seasonal rainfall over southern Tanzania.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 94-104).