Analysis of mid-twentieth century rainfall trends and variability over southwestern Uganda

28 Aug 2014

A methodology has been applied to investigate the spatial variability and trends existent in a mid-twentieth century climatic time series (for the period 1943–1977) recorded by 58 climatic stations in the Albert–Victoria water management area in Uganda. Data were subjected to quality checks before further processing. In the present work, temporal trends were analyzed using Mann–Kendall and linear regression methods. Heterogeneity of monthly rainfall was investigated using the precipitation concentration index (PCI). Results revealed that 53 % of stations have positive trends where 25 % are statistically significant and 45 % of stations have negative trends with 23 % being statistically significant. Very strong trends at 99 % significance level were revealed at 12 stations. Positive trends in January, February, and November at 40 stations were observed. The highest rainfall was recorded in April, while January, June, and July had the lowest rainfall. Spatial analysis results showed that stations close to Lake Victoria recorded high amounts of rainfall. Average annual coefficient of variability was 19 %, signifying low variability. Rainfall distribution is bimodal with maximums experienced in March–April–May and September–October–November seasons of the year. Analysis also revealed that PCI values showed a moderate to seasonal rainfall distribution. Spectral analysis of the time components reveals the existence of a major period around 3, 6, and 10 years. The 6- and 10-year period is a characteristic of September–October–November, March–April– May, and annual time series.