After lagging behind its normal position throughout September and the beginning of October, the Intertropical Front (ITF) has accelerated its southwards progression. It is now more southern, getting closer to the cocoa regions, than is usual at this time of the year.
Of course, its daytime average position is still well north of the cocoa regions for now. However, as its daily cycle has it traveling further south for several hours during the day, it has brought temporary drops in air humidity over wide swaths of the West African cocoa belt. The northernmost cocoa regions in SW Nigeria have even experienced the first harmattan-like conditions of the season.
These drops in air humidity remain short-lived for now (only a few hours during the day), and the trees have more than enough hydric resilience to be able to cope with them without any trouble. But it is clear that we are coming into that part of the year when we need to keep an eye on the ITF.
Our harmattan monitoring is thus now active and we will continue observing its evolution closely throughout the entire season.