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Keywords:

  • climate variability;
  • trends;
  • Upper Blue Nile Basin;
  • Ethiopia

Abstract

This study analyses the spatial and temporal variability and trends of rainfall, mean maximum and minimum temperatures at seasonal and annual timescales over the Upper Blue Nile River Basin, Ethiopia. Statistical and geostatistical techniques were applied to 1634 points on 10 × 10 km gridded data reconstructed from weather stations and meteorological satellite records. The data were obtained from the National Meteorological Agency of Ethiopia and cover the period between 1981 and 2010. Trends were evaluated from slopes of regression lines using the least squares method. The F-distribution test was used to determine the statistical significance of the trends. Minimum temperatures significantly increased in northern, central, southern and southeastern parts of the Basin in all seasons. At the annual scale, maximum and minimum temperatures significantly increased in over 33% of the Basin at a rate of 0.1 and 0.15 °C per decade, respectively; however, the western part (12%) of the Basin experienced declining trends on annual and seasonal timescales. The minimum temperatures increased at a higher rate than the maximum temperatures during winter, summer, autumn and also at the annual timescale. Mean annual minimum and maximum temperatures increased from 12.69 to 13.32 °C and 26.43 to 26.91 °C from 1981 to 2010, respectively. Rainfall showed statistically non-significant increasing trends of 35 mm per decade at the annual timescale. All seasons except spring season exhibited similar statistically non-significant trends. The spring season, however, showed a statistically non-significant declining trend in the north eastern (11%) part of the Basin.