This study was conducted to investigate historical climate dynamics and the resultant risks at four sites (Meki, Melkassa, Miesso and Ziway) in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. It involved analysis of rainfall and temperature data in the study areas. The results showed the existence of high inter-annual rainfall variability within seasons and sites. The number of rainy days exhibited a declining trend at Meki in both belg (FMAM) and kiremt (JJAS) seasons and an increasing trend at Melkassa in the belg season; while an increasing trend was observed at Miesso and Ziway in the kiremt season, and no change in trends was observed in the belg season at both sites. The minimum and maximum temperature showed an increasing trend at Miesso and Ziway, whereas no change was observed at Melkassa. As opposed to the cessation of the rainfall, onset dates of rainfall were highly variable at all sites. The median length of the growing period was found to be 101, 88, 118 and 104 days at Meki, Melkassa, Miesso and Ziway, respectively. The obtained results will certainly help the farming community and the agricultural sector to make a decision for the best management scheme in the central rift valley of Ethiopia.
Key words: Climate change, risk, rainfall, temperature, crop production, Central Rift Valley, Belg, Kiremt.
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