Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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TESFA Worku, Debre Berhan University and Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

Global warming and climatic variability are significant environmental problems in the 21st century. The problems are greatest in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan countries in which the majority of the population live by rain-fed agriculture. The present study undertakes a spatiotemporal analysis of climatic variability and its impact on crop production. It employs the Mann-Kendall trend test and Sens’s slope estimator. The Precipitation Concentration Index (PCI) has been applied over the period 1980–2014 on an annual and seasonal basis. Pearson correlation analysis between climatic variables and crop production has been carried out. Finally, moving average and Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) techniques have been used. Based on the MK test and Sen’s slope, upward and downward trends have been observed in rainfall and temperature in the Beressa watershed. A significantly rising trend of 0.28mm/year and 1.07% on mean annual rainfall was recorded at the DB station whereas a significantly decreasing trend of 8.62mm/year and -27.88% was observed at the HG station. An increasing trend in seasonal kiremit rainfall was observed at the DB station (1.623mm/year) and a significantly falling trend at the SD station (-0.9mm/year and -16.2%). A significantly rising trend in the belg season rainfall was observed at the DB station (0.4mm/year) and a significantly decreasing trend at the GIN station (-0.12mm/year). At all stations, a decreasing trend was observed in bega season rainfall, ranging from -0.061mm/year at the GIN station to -0.19mm/year and -56.4% at the DB station. The results obtained from the PCI show that the distribution of rainfall during the kiremit and belg seasons is moderate compared with annual and bega rainfall, in which the rainfall distribution is highly concentrated. From this observation, the rainfall distribution could be classified as irregular to erratic, hence affecting crop production. With some crops, there is significant correlation with rainfall and temperature, but this does not mean that one can conclude that the effect of climate variables on productivity are beyond seasonal influence. The growing periods of some crops run from one season to the next, which means that it cannot be said that a single season has not significantly influenced productivity. The mean annual, minimum and maximum temperatures increased by about 0.95°C/35 years, 0.7°C/35 years and 1.1°C/35 years respectively. In view of this, the incidence of food shortages, famine, and population migration out of the area is high. Therefore, depending on the historical trend in rainfall variability and prolonged temperature increase, appropriate coping and adaptation strategies need to be encouraged.