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Posted Mon Jul 18 2011: from
Forecasters 'warned of Horn of Africa drought' last year
Forecasting systems were warning about a serious drought in the Horn of Africa as much as a year ago -- but communication problems between scientists and decision-makers meant the alerts went largely unheeded, according to forecasters. Warnings about the drought -- which the United Nations says is the worst in 60 years -- were issued last August, when the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) released a brief on food security in East Africa following the declaration of a La Niņa event, a cooling of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean known to affect weather in Africa. "We were very confident that the October to December rains were going to be poor," Chris Hillbruner, a food security early warning specialist with FEWS NET, told SciDev.Net. "And there was an increased likelihood that the March to May rains were going to be poor as well."... Chris Funk, a climatologist with FEWS NET, said that the organisation's experts have been "a little frustrated that we provided this information quite early" but not enough has been done to make good use of it.
[Read more stories about: weather extremes, drought, food crisis, massive die-off]

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