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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 7, JULY 1989

NEWS...
1988 DROUGHT IN NORTH AMERICA


Item #d89jul3

Extensive drought experienced last year helped raise public awareness of the global warming issue in the United States. Although it turned out to be the warmest year on record, a cooling set in worldwide during 1988, and it is not clear how or if these events relate to the greenhouse effect. Several studies have related recent climatic characteristics to a pattern of Pacific sea surface temperature fluctuations known as El Niņo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or El Niņo-La Niņa, which some researchers feel would be sensitive to greenhouse-induced changes. Following are some periodical accounts on this topic; a special section of professional publications also appears in this issue. (See PROF. PUBS./1988 DROUGHT, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--July 1989.) The U.S. National Climate Program Office (11400 Rockville Pike, Rockville MD 20852; 301-443-8646) has just published The Drought of 1988 and Beyond, a 192-page proceedings of a strategic planning seminar held in Washington last October, which discusses impacts of the drought in North America, its relationship to global warming, and global and historical perspective. See also Drought Network News, Jan. 1989 in NEWS/RESEARCH NEWLETTERS, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--July 1989.

"Global Grainery in Peril as Rains Desert America," J. Gribbin, New Scientist, p. 26, June 3, 1989. Global grain reserves are low largely as a result of drought that has continued in the United States over the past few years, further fuelling controversy in Washington over whether greenhouse warming effects are beginning.

"Cold Waters and Hot Summers," J. Namias, Nature, pp. 15-16, Mar. 2, 1989. The author, an experienced meteorologist, discusses the relationship of the 1988 drought to the El Niņo-Southern Oscillation, and asserts the drought had no connection whatever with the greenhouse effect.

"'88 Set Warm Record; '89 Looks Cooler," R. Monastersky, Science News, pp. 84-85, Feb. 11, 1989. British climatologist Phil Jones finds that La Niņa has started to cool ocean temperatures; the 1989 global temperature should drop compared to 1988 but he still expects it to exceed the 30-year mean.

"Blowing Hot and Cold in the Greenhouse," F. Pearce, New Scientist, pp. 32-33, Feb. 11, 1989. A detailed discussion of recent findings on El Niņo events and why their relationship to global warming remains unclear.

"Scientists Link '88 Drought to Natural Cycle in Tropical Pacific," N.Y. Times (Nat. Ed.), pp. 15, 17, Jan. 3, 1989.

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