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.
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