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Fact Sheet 2012–3053

Famine Early Warning Systems Network—Informing Climate Change Adaptation Series

A Climate Trend Analysis of Ethiopia

By Chris Funk, Jim Rowland, Gary Eilerts, Emebet Kebebe, Nigist Biru, Libby White, and Gideon Galu

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.13 MB)Abstract

This brief report, drawing from a multi-year effort by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), examines recent trends in March-June, June-September, and March-September rainfall and temperature, identifying significant reductions in rainfall and increases in temperature over time in many areas of Ethiopia. Conclusions:
• Spring and summer rains in parts of Ethiopia have declined by 15-20 percent since the mid-1970s.
• Substantial warming across the entire country has exacerbated the dryness.
• An important pattern of observed existing rainfall declines coincides with heavily populated areas of the Rift Valley in south-central Ethiopia, and is likely already adversely affecting crop yields and pasture conditions.
• Rapid population growth and the expansion of farming and pastoralism under a drier, warmer climate regime could dramatically increase the number of at-risk people in Ethiopia during the next 20 years.
• Many areas of Ethiopia will maintain moist climate conditions, and agricultural development in these areas could help offset rainfall declines and reduced production in other areas.

First posted April 13, 2012

For additional information contact:
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001
Phone: 605-594-6151
Fax: 605-594-6589

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Funk, C., Rowland, J., Eilerts, G., Kebebe, E., Biru, N., White, L.,and Galu, G., 2012, A Climate Trend Analysis of Ethiopia, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3053, 6 p.


Food Security Context: Complex Patterns of Climate, Climate Change, and Livelihoods

Patterns of Climate Change: Growing Season Rainfall has Declined by 15–20 Percent

Coincidence of Densely-Populated Areas and Observed Declines in Rainfall

Observed Changes in Rainfall and Temperature Projected Forward

An Acceleration of the Trends? Very Dry Recent Weather

Hot-Spots of Climate Change: The Rift Valley and Eastern Highlands Areas

The Interaction of Altitude and Climate Change

Population Pressure and Stagnating Agricultural Growth

Climatically Secure Areas

Some Implications for Climate Adaptation Programming

Objectives and Methods


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