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Monitoring and Forecasting Kenya’s Fluctuating Hydroclimate

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  • 1 Physics Department, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and Geography Department, University of Zululand, Richards Bay, South Africa
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Abstract

This study reviews Kenya’s fluctuating hydroclimate (3°S–4°N, 35°–40°E) and evaluates products that describe its area-averaged daily rainfall during 2008–18, monthly evaporation during 2000–18, and catchment hydrology via gauge, satellite, and model hindcast/forecast. Using the correlation of rainfall as a metric of skill we found daily satellite versus model hindcasts achieved 75%, while model forecasts at 2–6-day lead achieved 55%–58%. The daily satellite versus model soil moisture had a significant correlation (84%), and model runoff versus gauge streamflow reached 61%. A 2-day delay was noted between rainfall and streamflow response in recent flood events; however, long-range predictability was found to be poor (35%). These outcomes were considered at a local workshop, and ways to sustainably improve the real-time reporting of key hydroclimate parameters for operational data assimilation were suggested as steps toward better monitoring and forecast services in Kenya.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Mark R Jury, mark.jury@upr.edu

Abstract

This study reviews Kenya’s fluctuating hydroclimate (3°S–4°N, 35°–40°E) and evaluates products that describe its area-averaged daily rainfall during 2008–18, monthly evaporation during 2000–18, and catchment hydrology via gauge, satellite, and model hindcast/forecast. Using the correlation of rainfall as a metric of skill we found daily satellite versus model hindcasts achieved 75%, while model forecasts at 2–6-day lead achieved 55%–58%. The daily satellite versus model soil moisture had a significant correlation (84%), and model runoff versus gauge streamflow reached 61%. A 2-day delay was noted between rainfall and streamflow response in recent flood events; however, long-range predictability was found to be poor (35%). These outcomes were considered at a local workshop, and ways to sustainably improve the real-time reporting of key hydroclimate parameters for operational data assimilation were suggested as steps toward better monitoring and forecast services in Kenya.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Mark R Jury, mark.jury@upr.edu
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