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Open-File Report 2010–1199

Prepared in cooperation with the University of California, Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Group

A Westward Extension of the Tropical Pacific Warm Pool Leads to March through June Drying in Kenya and Ethiopia

By A. Park Williams1 and Chris Funk2

1Climate Hazard Group, Geography Department, University of California, Santa Barbara
2U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS)
Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (14.2 MB)


An estimated 14.3 million people are currently (July 2010) food insecure in Kenya and Ethiopia, and the U.S. government has spent more than $972 million on food aid in these two countries since 2009 (USAID, 2010). This insecurity stems from recent drought and rapid population growth that has outpaced agricultural development (Funk and others, 2008; Funk and Brown, 2009). Previous work by Funk and others (2005, 2008) and Verdin and others (2005) has linked drought conditions in Kenya and Ethiopia with warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Indian Ocean. Recent work has shown that Indian Ocean SSTs substantially affect rainfall in this region from March through June (Funk and others, 2008; Funk and Verdin, 2009). This season is known as the 'long rains' in Kenya and the 'Belg' rains in Ethiopia.

First posted September 2, 2010

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

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Suggested citation:

Williams, A.P., and Funk, Chris, 2010, A westward extension of the tropical Pacific warm pool leads to March through June drying in Kenya and Ethiopia: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1199, 7 p.



Trends in Long Rains

Trends in Tropical Indian and Pacific Ocean Climate

Linking Long-Rains Precipitation with Indian Ocean SSTs


References Cited

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