The high temperatures are expected to continue in March and April. (Gerard Larose)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The high temperatures recorded at the beginning of this year are expected to continue in March and April, said a top official of the Seychelles Meteorological Authority.
The chief executive of the Authority, Vincent Amelie, told SNA on Monday that “The highest temperature recorded for January this year was 33.5 degrees Celsius, this is not the highest ever recorded; that was 34.8 in April 2013. However, it was the minimum temperature at night that broke records; going up to 28.3 degrees Celsius. The usual average is 24.”
Along with the high temperature, there was also less rain recorded with an average of 450 millimetres for January, only about half of that was recorded. This is in stark contrast to December when there was a record amount of rain.
“Last year from September until December we got a lot of rain, it was very wet. We were under the influence of El Niño as well as the Indian Ocean Dipole, both systems tend to influence our rainfall. Just December last year we recorded more than 1000 millimetres of rain. This has never happened before,” said Amelie.
The usual average rainfall for December in Seychelles is around 400 millimetres.
Amelie said that due to these numbers, the Met Office had predicted January to follow suit, however, this was not the case.
“Even for January we were expecting a lot of rain, we normally get an average of about 450 millimetres but we only recorded about half of this amount so it was quite dry. This caused quite a bit of concern. It was very bad,” he explained.
The CEO said there may be several factors behind the sudden change.
“Last year, we also forecast that with El Niño the season of tropical cyclones over the southwest Indian Ocean would start late. Normally our rainfall also coincides with the onset of the tropical cyclone season. It starts around November to December. But it was delayed,” he added.
Amelie said that it depends on the position of the cyclones and sometimes Seychelles “gets a lot of rain, but this time around most of the activity was kept further south and we did not get all these rains for January. You will see now when there is no system further south, we will see more activity, that’s why we got some rain recently.”
The latest prediction by the Met Office has shown that there will be a decrease in the amount of rainfall.
“I want to emphasise that this does not mean that there will not be any rain. This forecast is seasonal, so there might be periods of rainfall, it is then that we will calculate the median for this quarter, we expect it to be below average.” said the CEO.
Rainfall and temperature are two aspects that go hand in hand and this is what Amelie clarifies for the temperature forecast for March and April.
“What is important to note is that the conditions will remain quite hot. It had stabilised a bit the past few days because we got some rain but once the rain stops, the temperature will rise. This transition period also means that the wind is quite light and calm so there won’t be much circulation of air, so it will be very hot” he said.
Amelie added “March and April have always been known as the hottest months but with the impact of climate change, we can expect more of an impact on us. Even if we get rain during this time, we don’t get it every day so it will not have as much of an impact on the temperature.”