GREATER HORN OF AFRICA CLIMATE OUTLOOK FORUM. By Prof Laban Ogallo ICPAC. INTRODUCTION.
Prof Laban Ogallo
Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) were initiated at a meeting held at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 1996 and gained momentum as a regional response to the major El Nino event of 1997/98. The first Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (COF1) was held at Holiday inn, Nairobi, Kenya in February 1998. Since then, ICPAC has continued to hold Regional climate outlook forums before the beginning of the major rainfall seasons, (March-May and September - December seasons).
The forums have become the main regional mechanism for the formulation and dissemination of seasonal consensus climate forecasts to policymakers and other users, thus ‘linking Climate Prediction and Science to the users’. The COFs bring together operational climate scientists and the users to formulate climate guidance, their potential impacts and mitigation strategies. The involvement of users in COFs has been an explicit component of the forum process for dissemination of the forecasts and feedback on their usefulness.
There is general agreement among the climate scientists that a weak to moderate El Niño is likely to develop over the equatorial Pacific Ocean and that such an event would persist into early 2007.
ICPAC has been monitoring the status of the evolving El Nino and so far there is no need to change the COF 18 consensus climate outlook