Awash River basin (ARB) as a system is in a state of continuous change that requires successive studies to discern the changes or trends of climatic elements through time due to climate change/variability, and other socioeconomical developmental activities in the basin. The livelihood of communities in the ARB is primarily based on rainfall-dependent agriculture. Effects of rainfall anomalies such as reduction of agricultural productivity, water scarcity, and food insecurity are becoming more prevalent in this area. In recent years, ARB has been experiencing more frequent rainfall anomalies that change-point detection test and trend analyses of basin rainfall associated with sea surface temperature is crucial in providing guidance to improve agricultural productivity in ARB. Change-point detection tests such as Pettit's, the von Neumann ratio (VNR), Buishand's range (BR) and standard normal homogeneity (SNH) plus trend analysis Mann-Kendall (MK) test of rainfall and temperature data from 29 meteorological stations in the ARB were carried out from 1986 to 2016. A significant increasing trend of annual and seasonal temperature was found. The temperature change-points for the annual and major rainy season (MRS) were detected in 2001, while for the minor rainy season (mRS) in 1997. A significant decreasing trend, shift, and high variability of rainfall were detected in the downstream part of the ARB. The BR and SNH results showed that the mRS rainfall change-point was in 1998, with a subsequent mean annual decrease of 52.5 mm. The increase (decrease) of rainfall in the annual and MRS was attributable to La Niña (El Niño) events. The significant decreasing trend and change-point of rainfall in the mRS was attributable to the steady warming of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, local warming, and La Niña events. With this knowledge of the current trends and change-point for rainfall and temperature in the ARB, it is therefore essential that appropriate integrated water management and water-harvesting technologies are established, especially in the downstream areas. Moreover, early detection of El Niño episodes would provide invaluable warning of impending rainfall anomalies in the ARB and would enable better preparations to mitigate its negative effects.
- Change-point detection
- Rainfall variability
- Sea surface temperature anomalies
- Trend analysis