Short communication First rainfall data from the KZN Drakensberg escarpment edge (2002 and 2003)
Rainfall measured on the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg escarpment, the first from above 2 800m a.s.l., are presented from two locations. Total rainfall at the top of Sani Pass (2 850 m a.s.l.) in the southern Drakensberg was 742 mm in 2002, while the January months of 2002 and 2003 averaged 109 mm. Rainfall on Sentinel Peak (3 165 m a.s.l.) in the northern KZN Drakensberg during 2003 totalled 765 mm and 145 mm was measured in January 2003. Recorded rainfall was marginally lower than, but within 6% of, rainfall recorded at adjacent lower altitude Drakensberg stations over the same period. The number of rain days increased marginally with altitude and the data suggest that even though the amount of rainfall on the escarpment is similar to that at lower altitude, the frequency of rainfall events is higher on the escarpment. Although 2002 and 2003 were dryer than normal years in the region, comparisons between these data and prior estimations, where rainfall was expected to range between 1 500 and 2 000 mm/a, shows that totals for the summit of the escarpment could have been over-estimated in the past. Measurement of rainfall is ongoing.
Water SA Vol.31 (3) 2005: pp.399-402