February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 7, JULY 1989
1988 DROUGHT IN NORTH AMERICA
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 Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or
El Niño-La Niña, 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 Niño-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 Niña has started to cool ocean temperatures; the 1989 global
temperature should drop compared to 1988 but he still expects it to exceed the
"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 Niño events and why their relationship to global warming
"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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