The Links between Variations in Climate Patterns and ITCZ Position over Nigeria
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The analysis of the observed 30 years data that include the monthly precipitation, wind speed and solar radiation from Maiduguri, Abuja, Ikeja and Port Harcourt is done to estimate the approximate shift in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) mean position over Nigeria. The data are separated into three decades (1981-1990, 1991-2000 and 2001-2010) and their monthly mean values are compared with each other and with the corresponding magnitudes over the whole period (1981-2010). The results indicate that the overall precipitation increases southward across the country while the annual mean intensity rises over the decades in all the selected locations. Using the extreme decades, the magnitude of the rainfall in 2001-2010 is higher than the corresponding values in 1981-1990 by 20.84 mm, 9.87 mm, 18.40 mm and 6.89 mm in Maiduguri, Abuja, Ikeja (Lagos) and Port Harcourt respectively. Further investigation in all the locations showed periods of elevated monthly rainfall in the recent decades than other periods; the magnitudes compared to 1981-1990 are between 48.6mm-78.4mm which are much higher than the annual mean intensities while few months with very low rainfall are observed in Abuja and Port Harcourt. As expected, reverse pattern is seen in the wind speed which is generally lower in 2001-2010 than in 1981-1990. The rising magnitude of the precipitation over the decades imply that the ITCZ must have been shifting slightly over the periods to a more northern extreme in 2001-2010, causing northward spread of the rainfall which raises the overall intensity of the rainfall across Nigeria. A persistent northward shift in the ITCZ position with increasing magnitude of the associated rainfall could raise the current severity of soil erosion, frequency of flooding that might cause severe damages and paralyze businesses in Nigeria under such a future climate change. Hence, availability of data with advance technology for studying fluctuations in the ITCZ position might improve weather forecast that could favour farm yield and save lives and properties as climate changes in the future.
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