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Mapping Climate Parameters in Mkomazi River Basin, Tanzania

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Godfrey A. Mmbando and Michael Kleyer
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Mapping Precipitation, Temperature, and Evapotranspiration in the Mkomazi River Basin, Tanzania

Abstract: It is still a challenge to provide spatially explicit predictions of climate parameters in African regions of complex relief, where meteorological information is scarce. Here we predict rainfall, temperature, and reference evapotranspiration (ETo) for the southern Mkomazi River Basin in Northeastern Tanzania, East Africa, by means of regression-based, digital elevation models (DEM) at 90 m spatial-resolution and geographic information systems (GIS) techniques. We mapped rainfall for the period 1964–2010. The models accounted for orographic factors which strongly influenced the spatial variability of rainfall in the region. According to orography, the area was divided into three zones for modelling rainfall: windward, leeward, and transition zone. Rainfall indicates high spatial and temporal variability dominated by equatorial East-African climate circulation systems. Maximumandminimumtemperaturesweremodelledfortheperiod1989–1994,themodels accounted only for the altitude gradient. Mean temperature was calculated by arithmetic mean of maximum and minimum temperatures maps in ArcGIS. ETo was estimated in ArcGIS following the method described by Hargreaves and Samani. The maps were made on a monthly basis for rainfall, ETo, and mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures. The obtained maps are useful for the purpose of agriculture, ecological, and water resources management.

Keywords: linear regression; mapping; rainfall; temperature; reference evapotranspiration (ETo); digital elevation models (DEMs); geographic information systems (GIS); East Africa

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