Dry Spells Occurrence in Tamale, Northern Ghana – Review of Available Information
Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic, Shayibu Abdul-Ghanyu,
Bizoola Zinzoola Gandaa, and Felix K. Abagale
Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies, P.O.Box 1350, Tamale, Ghana
Sustainable crop production is important for food security in Northern Ghana, where highly variable rainfall coupled with high evaporation rates and soils prone to degradation combine to produce low crop yields of main staple crops that are vital for local people’s livelihoods. Rainfall in this region generally ranges between 800 mm and 1200 mm per annum, falling within a single rainy season from April to October, with a peak in late August-September. This amount is adequate for most arable crops such as maize, rainfed rice, soybeans, and yams. Intermittent dry spells occur, however, at critical crop growth stages, resulting in significant yield reductions. Several studies conducted in this area show that dry spells can be expected during each annual rain season, with a high level of certainty and duration fromtwo to three days up to four weeks. This paper reviews both available literature on dry spell incidence and rainfall prediction in the West African region, with a particular focus on northern Ghana. Available daily rainfall data for 52 consecutive years are analyzed to determine dry spell duration and occurrence in northern Ghana.
-  B. Bouagila and L. Sushama, “On the Current and Future Dry Spell Characteristics over Africa,” Atmosphere, Vol.4, pp. 272-298, 2013.
-  S. Salack, B. Muller, A. T. Gaye, and F. Hourdin, “Implications of low frequency dry spells in seasonal and interannual rainfall variability in Senegal,” Workshop on metrics and methodologies of estimation of extreme climate events 2011, WCRP Informal/Series Report, No.9, 2011.
-  S. Salack, A. Giannini, M. Diakhate, A. T. Gaye, and B. Muller, “Oceanic influence on the sub-seasonal to interannual timing and frequency of extreme dry spells over the West African Sahel,” Clim Dyn, Springer-Verlag, 2013.
-  L. Le Barbe, T. Lebel, and D. Tapsoba, “Rainfall Variability in West Africa during the Years 1950-90,” Journal of Climate, Vol.15, pp. 187-202, 2002.
-  A. Jalloh, B. Sarr, J. Kuiseu, H. Roy-Macauley, and P. Sereme, “Review of climate in West and Central Africa to inform farming systems research and development in the sub-humid and semiarid agroecologies of the region,” Conseil Ouest et Centre Africain pour la Recherche et le Development Agricoles/West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), CORAF/WECARD, Dakar, Senegal, 2011.
-  S. C. Mathugama and T. S. G. Peiris, “Critical Evaluation of Dry Spell Research,” Int. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, Vol.11, No.6, pp. 153-160, 2011.
-  R. Kasei, B. Diekkruger, and C. Leemhuis, “Drought frequency in the Volta Basin ofWest Africa,” Sustain Sci, Vol.5, pp. 89-97, 2010.
-  K. Owusu and P. Waylen, “Trends in spatio-temporal variability in annual rainfall in Ghana (1951-2000),” Weather, Vol.64, No.5, pp. 115-120, 2009.
-  K. Owusu and P. Waylen, “The changing rainy season climatology of mid-Ghana,” Theor Appl Climatol, Vol.112, pp. 419-430, 2013.
-  G. T. Yengon, F. Ato Armah, E. Ebo Onumah, and J. O. Odoi, “Trends in Agriculturally-Relevant Rainfall Characteristics for Small-Scale Agriculture in Northern Ghana,” Journal of Agricultural Science, Vol.2, No.3, pp. 3-16, 2010.
-  Y. A. Yaro, “The Social Dimensions of Adaptation to Climate Change in Ghana,” World Bank Discussion Paper Number 15, pp. 104, 2010.
-  T. Dietz, D. Millar, J. Saa Dittoh, F. Obeng, and E. Ofori-Sarpong, “Climate and Livelihood Change in North East Ghana,” in A. J. Dietz, R. Ruben, and A. Verhagen (Eds.), “The Impact of Climate Change on Drylands, with a Focus on West Africa,” Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, Environment and Policy Series, Vol.39, pp. 149-172, 2004.
-  R. M. Al-Hassan, J. K. M. Kuwornu, P. M. Etwire, and Y. Osei-Owusu, “Determinants of Choice of Indigenous Climate Related Strategies by Smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana,” British Journal of Environment & Climate Change, Vol.3, No.2, pp. 172-187, 2013.
-  D. A. Wilhite and M. H. Glantz, “Understanding the drought phenomenon; The role of definitions,” Water International, Vol.10, pp. 111-120, 1985, in S. C. Mathugama and T. S. G. Peiris, “Critical Evaluation of Dry Spell Research,” Int. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, Vol.11, No.6, pp. 153-160, 2011.
-  A. Diongue-Niang, “The West African Monsoon and its socioeconomical impacts,” First THORPEX Science Symposium Montréal, pp. 6-10, December 2004.
-  V. D. Gbedzi and P. Laryea, “Dry spell analysis for agricultural information in the Nyankpala area of Northern Ghana,” Proc. of the Conf. of the Ghana Soil Science Society, pp. 123-132, 1999.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.