Rain-fed agriculture in North-West (NW) Ethiopia is seasonally modulated, and our objective is to isolate past and future trends that influence crop growth. Statistical methods are applied to gauge-interpolated, reanalysis, and satellite data to evaluate changes in the annual cycle and long-term trends. The June to September wet season has lengthened due to the earlier arrival and later departure of rains. Meteorological composites relate this spreading to local southerly winds and a dry-south/wet-north humidity dipole. At the regional scale, an axis of convection over the Rift Valley (35E) is formed by westerly waves on 15S and an anticyclone over Asia 30N. Coupled Model Intercomparsion Project (CMIP5) Hadley2 data assimilated by the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparision Project (ISIMIP) hydrological models are used to evaluate projected soil moisture and potential evaporation over the 21st century. May and October soil moisture is predicted to increase in the future, but trends are weak. In contrast, the potential evaporation is rising and may put stress on the land and water resources. A lengthening of the growing season could benefit crop yields across the NW Ethiopian highlands.
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