The Oryx Resource Guide to El Nino and La Nina

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Fish die. Seagulls starve. Economies wither. And that's just in the coastal villages. El Nino-The Christ Child-and its climatological opposite, La Nina, are global events so powerful and strange they virtually have personalities. Many remember the El Nino seasons of 1982-83 and 1997-98, which brought floods, tornadoes, droughts, and snow to unusual locales. Increased study of these Tropical Pacific phenomena, also known as ENSO (the El Nino and Southern Oscillation), has now enabled scientists to predict the ENSO state as much as 12 to 18 months in advance and has helped to shape weather prediction in general. Here, the basic causes and effects of El Nino and La Nina are carefully chronicled for anyone in search of accurate and current information on these natural phenomena. Chapters are devoted to the history of ENSO; its influence on global weather and on the United States, including the ecosystem; and how governments and industries worldwide are utilizing new weather data to harness ENSO's economic impact, rather than be saddled by it. A chronology tours key events, from the 15th century diary observations of colonists in Ecuador and Peru to recent events like the devastating El Nino of 1997-98, which was responsible for 23,000 deaths and $33 billion in damages. Biographies of important researchers, illustrations and maps, and an extensive bibliography help make this a total guide to these magnificent natural cycles.