Farmers’ local knowledge of how the climate is changing is crucial in anticipating the effects of climate change, as only farmers who know/perceive the impacts will develop coping and adaption measures. The study is designed to assess farmers’ perception and understanding in climate variability and change and to establish the observed climate change parameters with farmer’s perception and climate anomalies. Household survey, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and 30 years of climate data was employed. Non-parametric test using Mann-Kendall climate trend analysis and Sen’s slope estimator was employed to test the variability of climate using MAKESENSE software. The findings revealed that farmers perceived climate change in terms of increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall, increase in drought conditions and change in seasonal rainfalls. Analysis of the observed climate data for the sub-basin showed that average annual temperature trends has exhibited a positive slope and increased by 1.4°C and above the national average (1.3°C) over the study periods (1986-2014) at mean temperature rise with an average rate of 0.181°C in the last decade. The observed climate variability was confirmed by farmer’s perception. The Mann-Kendall rainfall trend analysis showed that annual and monthly precipitation variability in terms of intensity and distributions declined and vary across agro ecological zones. The analysis indicated that annual rainfall variability in Dega agro ecological zone (CV>63%) and in Kola agro ecological zone (CV>104%) was extremely variable. However, in terms of amount and distributions of precipitation, farmers understanding of precipitation in relation to observed precipitation data showed disparities. This disparity was due to understanding of agronomic drought (farmer’s view) and metrological drought (scientific view). Therefore, based on the findings, scientist and policymakers has to integrate the metrological information into farmers’ perception and knowledge of climate variability for future climate adaptations measure.
Key words: Climate variability, farmers’ perception, climatological normal, local knowledge.
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