*********ENSO 97-98: CURRENT REPORTS ON EVENTS**************


Report 29:


13 AUGUST 1998


This electronic mailing is intended to provide near real-time reports primarily on marine and terrestrial events that may be linked to the development of the 1997 El Niño/Southern Oscillation which is as one of the most severe ENSO events in history. Emphasis is on seabirds and changes to marine ecosystems, but we appreciate other reports that may expand our understanding of effects. These might include rainfall, flooding, associated disease outbreaks, economic impact, or transportation problems. Reports are issued as needed.


Caveat: Some of the reports may report events that will in retrospect turn out to be coincidence, having nothing to do with ENSO at all. Others may be previously unrecognized precursors.We try to be inclusive and will let hindsight separate ENSO from other causes.


The reports are often second-hand or casual, edited out of other messages. Please check with the original author before using the data.


Participation: Although we summarize wire and news reports, the strength of this bulletin is direct participation from around the world. Good observations by anyone are welcomed. Please send additional reports, corrections, or comments to:


David C. Duffy Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit Department of Botany University of Hawaii Honolulu HI 96822 email: dduffy@hawaii.edu


If you do NOT want to receive this, let us know, but please tell us how you received it (directly or through a particular list serv or news group). Digests of these reports can be found on several list servers and may be sufficient for your needs.


Time-collated reports from past bulletins and ENSO links can be found on a web page at:




which is maintained by Peter J. BRYANT <PJBRYANT@uci.edu>, at the Interdisciplinary Minor in Global Sustainability at the University of California, Irvine. -----------------------




As El Niño continues to fade, it is not clear whether events such as southern U.S. droughts and heavy monsoons in Asia are ENSO-related. Flooding in China has been identified as associated with ENSO. The dengue outbreak continues over most of the western Pacific and Asia. Effects reported here of the drought in the southern U.S., the warm winters in the northeastern U.S., and the warm waters in Alaska and British Columbia may reverberate through ecosystems and local economies for years.


A tongue of cold water in the eastern Pacific ocean may signal the onset of an occurrence of La Niña, the cold-water version of El Niño. Previous Niña events have been scarcer than ENSOs and we have much less idea of their characteristics or of whether what we are seeing now is Niña or Niño. There is an urgent need for someone to continue to track La Niña, should it occur, but the present ENSO reports will come to an end with the next and final report.


































25 JUNE 1998. LA NINA


25 JUNE 1998. U.S.: CLIMATE




29 JUNE 1998. LA NINA


























































29 JULY 1998. U.S.: CROPS




























31 MAY 1998. AMAZON: DISEASE (YELLOW FEVER) "Recently, several cases of yellow fever have been reported in Amazonian Brazil, and one in French Guiana. Now, ProMED-mail has heard of suspected cases in Suriname, the country bordered by French Guiana and Guyana. If yellow fever is indeed spreading, we may expect to see cases in Guyana also, and in neighboring areas of Venezuela, from which infected mosquitoes could carry it to Trinidad, as it has in the past, and threaten the Caribbean, where the urban yellow fever mosquito, _Aedes aegypti_, is widespread. So far the cases are reported from jungle areas in the interior, with no urban cases. But medical authorities in the towns of Guyana, French Guiana & Suriname should be looking for cases of clinical hepatitis with an eye to the possibility that they might in fact be yellow fever; medical laboratories in the capitals should make sure they can diagnose the disease rapidly; and health authorities should seriously consider the need to vaccinate in the towns and capitals."-- Jack Woodall woodall@wadsworth.org VIA ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


12 JUNE 1998. UGANDA: DISEASE (CHOLERA) New Vision reports: A new outbreak of cholera in Uganda over the past 10 days has resulted in 33 deaths out of 460 cases. The districts most affected are Aura in the north, Kabarole in the west. There have been eight recorded cases in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, but no deaths reported. Including earlier outbreaks, there have been 1,550 deaths out of 37,896 cases since Nov 1997."-- Dorothy Preslar dpreslar@fas.org ON ProMED <http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html>


14 - 16 JUNE 1998. HAWAII: SHOREBIRD GOLDEN PLOVERS: "This year seems to have more mid-June plovers than I recall seeing in years past, particularly the large group I saw yesterday. Possibly some El Nino effect resulting in early failed nests in Alaska might produce larger numbers here in Hawaii. Just a thought. We'll have to see if numbers continue to appear."-- Tom Snetsinger nukupuu@aloha.net on Hawaiian Bird Hotline. AND-- If there are unusual numbers of Pacific Golden Plovers (and possibly other shorebird species) in Hawaii this summer, I think there are two possible climate-related explanations. 1. The winter weather in Hawaii did not allow the shorebirds to fatten up properly and many were not in good enough condition for the flight to Alaska. 2. The spring weather in Alaska was bad, resulting in failed nesting and an early return of breeding birds from the north. I think the first explanation is most likely. There was a severe drought in Hawaii this winter, probably related to El Nino. The drought may have reduced the populations of small terrestrial arthropods that the shorebirds eat. I wouldn't be surprised if many wintering shorebirds starved. Rainfall began to return to normal this spring. Perhaps some birds were able to fatten up and leave later than usual. As far as I know, the spring weather on the nesting grounds in Alaska and Siberia has not been unusual. Climatological maps show near normal temperatures and precipitation along the arctic coasts of Siberia and Alaska and warmer than normal conditions in interior Alaska. I don't know of any weather conditions on the nesting grounds that might have adversely affected nesting success. I am a meteorologist, so I follow El Nino at work, but anyone interested in El Nino can find lots of information on the internet. The Honolulu Weather Service Forecast Office homepage has several links to El Nino sites. The URL is http://www.nws.noaa.gov/pr/hnl/. The University of Hawaii Meteorology homepage also has links to lots of El Nino information. Their URL is http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu."--Pete Donaldson Weatherbird@compuserve.com. AND- "There seems to be no question that this last winter and spring has affected the seasonal and spatial distribution of Pacific wintering shorebirds. On my last week's trip through the islands I saw many more shorebirds than normal. The two species that struck me as being seasonally numerous were Ruddy Turnstone (40% breeding plumage) and Wandering Tattler (all breeding plumage). I saw only a handful of Plovers (most in non-breeding plumage). The weather in Alaska has been much warmer than normal, so conditions there do not seem to be limiting. As for poor winter conditions, it would be hard to correlate food as a limiting factor. Perhaps it has been the shift of the Pacific High Southward as a result of El Nino and Southern Oscillation patterns, that has created unfavorable wind conditions for migration. All these are speculative issues. It would be interesting to look into the bird observation database to see if these oversummer records can be correlated to El Nino events. In addition. there has been an incredible phenomenom that may be related, that has occurred on the West Coast as at least 6 Bristle-thighed Curlews have shown up on the coast from Northern California through Washington. This spring movement is a first, as the curlews were state records for CA, OR, and WA! Could this be related?"-- Andy Engilis <aengilis@ducks.org>


15 JUNE 1998. MEXICO: FIRE Island Press reports: "After going through the hottest and driest spring in the last 90 years, Mexico is suffering an unprecedented spate of forest fires. An estimated 11,000 fires have destroyed upwards of 750,000 acres. Smoke from these fires has drifted north, prompting health alerts as far north as Kansas. In Mexico City, Mayor Cuauhtemoc Cardenas has ordered environmental emergency measures. Citizens have been urged to stay indoors as much as possible and to sleep with their windows shut to prevent contaminants from entering homes. According to the Associated Press, the only reliable statistics available in Mexico City on the effects of the increases in airborne particulates and ozone are the number of medical consultations at public hospitals: "Between May 22 and May 26, the (Mexican) National System of Disease Monitoring .. . detected an increase of 26.9 percent in the demand for consultations as a result of problems associated with air pollution.'' Aside from the effects that the smoke is having on human health in Mexico and Texas, the fires are also destroying large portions of Mexico's "Cloud Forests". An estimated area of 170,000 acres of the Lacandon Forest, Las Chimalapas, and El Ocote have been destroyed by fire. These areas represent the world's most northerly tropical rainforest and are located in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca where a large proportion of the population are dependent on the land for their subsistence. Criticism has been leveled at the Mexican government for failing to prepare for this predicable situation. Homero Aridjis, a Mexico City reporter, stated that "if the fires have broken all previous records this year, we also have to say that the incompetence of government officials has broken all previous records. While we're here choking on smoke and the rain forests are burning down, they're just waiting for Godot, waiting for the rains to come. Despite this heated internal criticism many in the international community have sympathized with the Mexican government, pointing to the severity of the drought and the difficulties experienced in trying to prevent the use of fire for land clearing in a region where this is traditional. One of the few positive aspects of this situation is the cooperation of the Mexican and US governments in fighting fires. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent enough shovels, protective gear and chain saws to equip 3,000 firefighters as part of a $5 million aid package. Along with this material aid the US has sent more than 50 fire fighting specialists to coordinate the efforts of the 200,000 Mexican soldiers fighting the fires; air crane helicopters to drop water on the fires; and infra-red navigation equipment to assist in navigation through dense smoke."-- Island press, Eco-Compass http://www.islandpress.org.


16 JUNE 1998. SRI LANKA: DISEASE (CHOLERA) "Sri Lanka's health authorities Monday warned of an outbreak of a cholera epidemic in the capital city Colombo, health sector sources said Tuesday. More than 300 cholera cases had been reported from all parts of the island country from January 1 to June 10 this year. Already seven positive cases of cholera have been discovered within the city and they are being treated in the Infectious Diseases Hospital, the sources said." --Clyde Markon docmarkon@worldnet.att.net VIA PROMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html


17 JUNE 1998. TEXAS: DROUGHT Steven H. Lee of The Dallas Morning News reported that Texas A&M University economists predicted that the ongoing Texan drought could cost up to $517 directly, with overall losses of $1.7 billion. Rainfall is at 17% of normal levels for March - May.


17 JUNE 1998. NEW ZEALAND: EFFECTS (INSECTS) ENN reported that Jim Salinger, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, reported the highest summer temperatures in 60 years and the second warmest since records began 145 years ago, leading to insects being active through the austral winter.


17 JUNE 1998. JOHNSTON ATOLL: SEABIRD "Beginnng in late April-early May Johnston Atoll birds (16 deg. N, 169 deg. W) started showing effects of the ENSO event. Sooty chicks of all ages starved to death by the thousands, adults incubating eggs deserted eggs. Chicks still present in June were all underweight and more were dying. Brown Noddy adylts were standing around on territories but not laying eggs. They are about 6-8 weeks late and some should have had fledglings by June. A few were beginning to lay in early June. White Terns were nesting but had higher than normal chick mortality. Red-footed boobies, which lay throughout the year, had essentially stopped laying eggs and only a few birds were incubating eggs or building nests. Red-tailed tropicbird chicks were experiencing higher than normal mortality. Chick mortality is usually about 1% and 99% of those chicks die within the first week of life. There was probably 2-3% chick mortality occurring and many older chicks were dying. No chicks weighed over about 750 g when usually they reach an asymptotic mass of 900g. The population of many of the species nesting on Johnston has increased over the past 15 years that I have been monitoring it. It appears that nest numbers will not increase this year owing to the ENSO."-B.A> Schreiber SchreiberE@aol.com.


18 JUNE 1998. AUSTRALIA: DISEASE (DENGUE) Radio Australia - World News: "Health officials say vigilance is needed to halt the spread of dengue fever to new areas. Nationally 270 cases of dengue fever have been reported - compared to 188 last year. Dengue fever is restricted to northern Queensland, where the carrying mosquito can be found. The biggest dengue outbreak recently was in Cairns, with the strain originating in Thailand. A year before 200 cases were a strain from African nation Burkino Faso. The mosquito [vector] has now spread towards the Northern Territory and New South Wales borders. The report says another [vector] mosquito from Asia and Papua New Guinea is an ongoing threat, especially if it continues to arrive in ships or on planes." --Robin Hide rhide@coombs.anu.edu.au VIA ProMED-mail post http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


19 JUNE 1998. CALIFORNIA: OCEANOGRAPHY AND FISHERIES U.S. West Coast Oceanography and Fisheries---Excerpts from the "NOAA/NESDIS El Nino Watch Advisory 98-5, May 1998: Despite the continued breakdown of El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific, residual effects are expected to keep local sea surface temperatures (SSTs) slightly above normal off much of the U.S. West Coast through the summer. At the equatorial Pacific in May, sea surface temperatures returned to normal west of 110 degrees longitude, but warmer than normal waters still remain in coastal waters from Baja north to Vancouver. In May, the Pacific Northwest showed little change in SSTs from the previous month (2 deg F above normal) and the central California coast cooled only a degree (to 2 deg F above normal). Southern California waters experienced increased warming to 3-4 degrees F above normal for May. Upwelling from central California south to Baja was well below normal, which may account for residual warming of waters off southern California. Toward the end of the month, good catches of albacore were being made just 40 miles west and southwest of San Diego, and were also reported off Morro Bay. Good salmon fishing was reported along the northern portion of the southern California Bight following periods of strong winds that cooled water temperatures, and good salmon fishing was also reported off central California during May. VIA S.E. Smith susan.smith@noaa.gov.


23 JUNE 1998. SOUTHERN U.S.: DROUGHT ENN reports that Texas Tech University researchers believe drought conditions this summer may continue this winter as La Niña conditions will be warmer and dryer than ENSO conditions were, although increased risk of hurricanes during La Niña may generate some rain. Contact: Richard Peterson, Texas Tech <Tel. (806)742-3101>.


23 JUNE 1998. BRAZIL: DISEASE (DENGUE) "The official numbers for dengue fever in Minas Gerais, Brazil, now that the epidemic is almost under control, are the following: - Classical dengue fever: confirmed cases: 114,291 - DHF [dengue hemorrhagic fever]: confirmed: 19 Suspected: 26 - Deaths : 4" --Alexandre Moura amoura@joinnet.com.br VIA ProMED <http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html>


24 JUNE 1998. MEXICO: DROUGHT "Just wanted to update you on the drought situation here in this part of Mexico. In Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, where I live, and here at the Instituto de Ecologia, we've finally had the onset of the spring rainy season (el aguacero). It started yesterday and the day before with some hard, driving rains. According to the locals, the onset of this year's rains (which we all hope this is) was delayed about 6 weeks. It normally begins somewhere around mid-May. Incidentally, it's also the first rain we've had here in over two months, a situation hardly normal for a temperate cloud forest. (I guess I've got a personal stake in the rain events because I have two large vegetable gardens that I'm trying to maintain!)"--Dan Bennack bennack@sun.ieco.conacyt.mx.


24 JUNE 1998. INDIA: MONSOONS Reuters reports that India's monsoons had their earliest onset in 97 years with most rains beginning 15 - 16 June.. Rainfalls are expected to be normal, despite lingering ENSO effects.


24 JUNE 1998. BRAZIL. EFFECTS: HUMAN UNICEF reported that children in the country's drought-stricken northeastern region were turning to prostitution to feed themselves and their families, according to an Environmental News Network report.


25 JUNE 1998. U.S. (PACIFIC COAST): SEABIRD "We are conducting a coordinated effort to investigate the effects of the 1997-1998 El Nino on seabirds as indicators of the status of coastal marine ecosystems throughout the North Pacific Ocean. The project, funded by the Environmental Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in response to the El Nino Rapid Response Initiative, involves standardized studies of reproductive chronology, aspects of reproductive performance, and food habits for Cassin's Auklets, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Common Murres, and other seabird species at 11 study sites over 30o of latitude from southern California through the Bering Sea. Coprincipal investigators and field supervisors include Doug Bertram (Simon Fraser University), Julia Parrish (University of Washington), Vernon Byrd and Leslie Slater (Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge), Bill Sydeman, Nadav Nur, Aaron Hebshi, Julie Thayer, Michelle Hester, and Kelly Hastings (Point Reyes Bird Observatory), Paige Martin (Channel Islands National Park), Scott Hatch (U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division), and Ed Murphy (University of Alaska, Fairbanks). Fieldwork for southern study sites initiated in March, and for northern sites in June. Reports indicate severe coastal marine ecosystem food-web collapse in California, and possibly British Columbia. Brief updates (based upon fieldwork through early June) from some field sites are provided below:


California, Cassin's Auklet, Prince Island, from Aaron Hebshi (PRBO): (1) egg-laying delayed by 4©6 weeks, (2) occupancy of nest sites about half of normal, (3) higher than normal egg abandonment.


California, Rhinoceros Auklet. Ano Nuevo Island © from Julie Thayer (PRBO): (1) egg-laying delayed by about 2 weeks, (2) higher than normal level of egg abandonment, (3) breeding effort similar to that observed in previous years.


California, Cassin's Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorant, Western Gull, Southeast Farallon Island, from Michelle Hester and Kelly Hastings (PRBO): (1) Cassin' Auklet egg laying delayed by 8 weeks and breeding effort reduced by about 50%, (2) Common Murre egg-laying delayed by 4 weeks, breeding effort significantly reduced by about 30%, and greater than normal egg loss, (3) Rhinoceros Auklet egg-laying delayed by 2 weeks, but no apparent change in breeding effort, (4) Pigeon Guillemot may forgo breeding; no egg-laying noted to date, (5) Brandt's and Pelagic cormorant breeding effort reduced by about 75% for each species, (6) Western Gull chronology effectively normal, with a small reduction in egg size, but increased chick mortality noted.


Oregon © Common Murre, Yakina Head, from Julia Parrish (UW): (1) 2-4 weeks late, (2) some chicks are hatching, but eggs also abandoned (1/3 to date), (3) parents remaining on the colony, sometimes intermittently sitting on their abandoned eggs, or in their breeding spot, after gulls have chowed down on the egg, (4) dead murres are beginning to appear on local beaches.


Washington, Common Murre, Tatoosh Island, from Julia Parrish (UW): (1) laying exactly on time - laying began the second week in june, (2) many eggs lost due to increasing eagle pressure driving a lay-and-lose cycle, (3) in "protected" habitats, egg numbers may be down, although we are just reaching peak laying.


British Columbia, Cassin's Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Common Murre, Triangle Island, from Doug Bertram (SFU): (1) CAAU layed eggs (median approx. 20 April) roughly 10d later than in previous years, breeding effort is considerably reduced, with burrow occupancy about 30% compared to 60% in 3 previous years, chick growth in early development was "normal" but recently in the later stages mortality has been very high (up to 50% in some plots) ©© only the earliest hatched nestlings appear to be gaining enough mass to fledge successfully, food samples appear to be largely composed of fish instead of zooplankton; (2) RHAU layed eggs roughly 1Od earlier (median 3 May) than in the 3 previous years, burrow occupancy was 50% compared with 60-80% in previous years, nestling growth is good so far, "bill load" samples from 15 June (first weekly bout) comprised predominantly sandlance (0, 1 and 2 + year classes) which have been scarce in recent years; (3) COMU attendance at the colony suggests similar numbers to the past three years, presently in the early to mid egg laying period, but have no data from other years for comparison.


Alaska © Rhinoceros Auklet, Middleton Island, from Scott Hatch (USGS-BRD): (1) population continues to increase; total burrow entrances counted was 4,000+, up from 2,744 in 1992, (2) using a video burrow camera extensively in RHAU work. We've established plots of some 50-60 burrows with eggs that will remain little disturbed so as to provide measure of egg hatching and chick rearing success, (3) nothing unusual about the chronology -- but need to check carefully against past information, (4) as a side note, the early-season food supply of kittiwakes (which consists of mid-water, oceanic prey like myctophids, squids, and crustaceans) apparently has held up well this spring, as we've seen several 3-egg clutches on the island which are unusual. Time will tell whether the later-season sandlance-capelin system fails as usual, resulting in poor chick survival at Middleton."--Bill Sydeman wjsydeman@prbo.org.


25 JUNE 1998. LA NINA ENN reports that NOAA predicts a strengthening La Niña event may bring a cold, wet early winter to the Northwest. The Southeast should have a wamer winter than usual as La Niña takes effect this fall and winter. Warm and dry conditions will prevail in Texas and the Southwest. Weather conditions are likely to be more variable as the jet stream will be over the U.S., not to the south, in Mexico.


25 JUNE 1998. U.S.: CLIMATE ENN reports that, at the national level, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. reports spring 1998 was the 47th wettest and the 24th driest since 1895, but it was the seventh driest in the South and eighth wettest in the west. It was the second wettest spring for Idaho, and eighth wettest for California.


26 JUNE 1998. MEXICO: DROUGHT The Associated Press reports that Mexico's five-year old drought is the worst in 70 years, with ENSO being blamed for a shift in dry conditions to central and southern Mexico. Children and cattle alike are dying of dehydration, crops are withering on in the fields, and fires have destroyed extensive runs of forest. The Chiapas coffee crop will be half its normal level. Rainfall is 54% below normal and reservoirs are at 15 - 20 % capacity. Recovery will take four to six years. La Niña conditions may aggravate drought conditions in the north.


29 JUNE 1998. LA NINA ENN reports that it is not yet clear that the cold-water mass in the eastern pacific is in fact a sign of a LA Niña event. This won't become clear until August or September, with the full effects of La Niña not felt until next winter according to scientists at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, Calif.


30 JUNE 1998. EL SALVADOR: DISEASE (DENGUE) La Nacion - Costa Rica: "This source has reported 493 classic dengue cases this year in San Salvador and identified 2 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (it is not clear if these are a separate class or if they are included in the larger number). Public health officials are concerned because there were [only] 423 cases of classic dengue in 1997, with no hemorrhagic cases reported. Officials are urging more aggressive mosquito eradication programs because dengue in its hemorrhagic form has been identified this year." Carol Pennel pennel@swbell.net VIA ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


30 JUNE 1998. SOUTHEASTERN U.S.: INSECTS Elliott Minor of the Associated Press reports that a wet winter has led to a bumper crop of blackflies extending into areas where the biting insects have not previous been a problem.


2 JULY 1998. ILLINOIS: TERRESTRIAL MAMMALS (OPOSSUMS) The Environmental News Network reports that Illinois' opossum population is up 60 - 70 % from last year because of a warm ENSO-driven winter.


2 JULY 1998. USA: EFFECTS (DEATH OF POLICE) The National Association of Chiefs of Police reports a record eight officer fatalities by drowning in part because of ENSO--Lt. Morton Feldman, National Association of Chiefs of Police, (202) 293-9088.


3 JULY 1998. VIETNAM: DISEASE (DENGUE) According to a report in the Thanh Nie newspaper in Hanoi, dengue fever has killed 17 children in the past month. Overall, there has been twice as many dengue cases reported this year as last. In Dong Nai region alone, 2,200 children have been diagnosed." Dorothy Preslar dpreslar@fas.org VIA ProMED promed@usa.healthnet.org.


3 JULY 1998; U.S.: DISEASE (HANTAVIRUSES) As of June 22, 1998, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has confirmed a total of 185 cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in 29 states. Four cases with onset in 1998 have been confirmed so far. Updated Statistics: N=185 81 (44%) died Male: 113 (61%) White: 140 (76%) American Indian: 39 (21%) Black: 5 Asian: 1 Hispanic: 21 (11%) Mean Age: 37 [11-69]"--Joni Young gzc8@cdc.gov ON ProMED <http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html>


4 JULY 1998. SINGAPORE: DISEASE (DENGUE) The Singapore Times reports: "Dengue fever cases are still on the rise. There were 2,079 cases in the first five months of this year, compared with 1,285 cases in the same period last year. Construction sites are a haven for these pests, which can breed wherever water collects, from uncompleted floors to discarded building materials."--Clyde Markon docmarkon@worldnet.att.net on A ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


5 JULY 1998. MICHIGAN: CLIMATE Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Wayne County: " Detroit has recorded its warmest first half of a year since records began here in 1870. The average temperature for the first six months of 1998 was 49.0 degrees, which shattered the old record of 48.3 degrees set in 1921. It is also interesting to note that four of the top ten years in this category occurred within the past eleven years. Here is a break down for the first six months of 1998: January: 9.9 deg above normal February: 11.3 deg above normal March: 3.8 deg above normal April: 3.1 deg above normal May: 7.2 deg above normal June: 1.5 deg above normal Note: This data comes from the National Weather Service Office in Detroit (White Lake)."-- Paul H. Gross <paulg@wdiv.com>


6 JULY 1998. INDIAN OCEAN: CORAL (BLEACHING) FROM NOAA <http://www.noaa.gov/public-affairs/pr98/jul98/noaa98-42.html> "An episode of extremely high ocean temperatures migrated from south to north throughout the Indian Ocean during the first six months of 1998 causing considerable coral reef bleaching in its wake, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports. Sea surface temperatures, exceeding the maximum values expected for any time during the year, were observed by NOAA's satellites to have exceeded levels critical to cause bleaching where these waters overlay Indian Ocean coral reefs. A somewhat similar episode occurred following the 1987 El Nino in the Indian Ocean; however, in 1988 the extreme sea surface temperature anomalies, toxic to corals, moderated sufficiently as the sun moved into the Northern Hemisphere. In that year, reefs in the Indian Ocean north of the equator were spared heavy bleaching. In 1998, this has not been the case. Earlier predicted by NOAA, bleaching has been reported in the Indian Ocean reefs of: Seychelles; Kenya; Reunion; Mauritius; Somalia; Madagascar; Maldives; Indonesia; Sri Lanka; Gulf of Thailand [Siam]; Andaman Islands; Malaysia; Oman; India; and Cambodia. This unprecedented round of bleaching in coral reefs throughout the Indian Ocean follows El Nino-related bleaching events during late-1997 and early-1998 both projected by NOAA's satellite HotSpot charts and documented by reef scientists in Mexico (Pacific), Panama (Pacific); Galapagos; Australia's Great Barrier Reef; Papua New Guinea; and American Samoa. In the Indian Ocean, sea surface temperature anomalies appear to be coming less severe toward the end of June. The total area covered by "HotSpots" is now only in the northernmost fringes of the Indian Ocean. However, during June the Philippines and the Florida Keys regions have been seeing temperature anomalies sufficiently high that bleaching has been reported and biologists are concerned for reefs there. Coral reefs -- the "rainforests of the oceans" -- support a variety of sea life and provide resources of significant economic importance such as fishing and recreation. Coral bleaching, induced by high water temperatures, has raised concerns about these fragile ecosystems. Coral bleaching occurs as coral tissue expels zooxanthellae, a type of algae that resides in the structure of the coral, and is essential to the coral's survival. Corals normally recover from this bleaching process, unless high ocean temperatures persist for too long a period or become too warm to permit recovery. If the corals do not recover, they can no longer provide a safe nursery for juvenile fish or provide shelter for lobsters, crabs, and shellfish. Coral Reef "HotSpots" depicted as regions of yellow/orange in the NOAA charts <http://psbsgi1.nesdis.noaa.gov:8080/PSB/EPS/SST/climohot.html> highlight those anomalies that are equal to or above the annual maximum sea surface temperatures by +1 deg C or more. HotSpot animations are available at the Oceanic Research &Applications Division's WebSite: http://manati.wwb.noaa.gov/orad/sub/noaarsrc.html.


6 JULY 1998. CHINA: FLOODS CNN and the Associated Press report that 400 or more have been killed as an early raining season led to the predicted floods that occur in ENSO years. The Yangtze River was in flood along 1,000 km of its course, destroying crops and displacing almost 400,000 people. Four million are working to shore-up levees.


6 JULY 1998. CALIFORNIA: MARINE MAMMAL (DISEASE?) "The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was cited as saying Monday that the mysterious deaths of more than 50 California sea lions in May were blamed on a naturally occurring toxic algae. Biologists from the National Marine Fisheries Service and National Ocean Service added that an algal bloom created a biotoxin called domoic acid that affects the nervous system of animals, causing seizures, vomiting and sometimes death. Almost 100 adult and juvenile California sea lions in obvious physical distress washed ashore in late May along the California coast from San Luis Obispo to Santa Cruz. Rescuers from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito said that of the animals they treated, more than 50 died and about 38 were still alive."--ANIMALNET VIA Robert A. LaBudde ral@lcfltd.com ON ProMED <promed@usa.healthnet.org>


6 JULY 1998. FLORIDA: FIRES FROM NOAA: http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/floridafires.html: "Information on Florida's unusual weather that set the stage for its raging forest fires has been placed on the World Wide Web by NOAA. The Web site, developed by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center , was unveiled by Vice President Al Gore, who visited fire sites in Florida. The Web site, titled "Florida Wild Fires and Climate Extremes," explains how Florida's unusual weather led to the fires. The unusually wet mild winter in Florida promoted abundant growth in the underbrush. This weather was immediately followed by a severe drought during April, May and June, which rapidly dried out the dense underbrush. This combination -- wet and mild in the winter, dry and hot in the summer -- provided abundant fuel to the wildfires throughout Florida. Details on recent abnormal weather, including temperature and precipitation as well as drought indices, are available on the Web site. Links to related Web sites, such as NOAA satellite imagery of the fires and the fire forecast, are provided."--http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/climate/research/1998/fla/florida.html.


7 JULY 1998. NORTHEAST U.S.: CLIMATE The Environmental News Network reported that the northeastern states of the United States have had their warmest first six months since records began to be recorded in 1895, 5 degrees F above normal. Precipitation was close to normal.


7 JULY 1998: WORLD: TEMPERATURE The Environmental News Network reported the British Meteorological Office and the University of East Anglia reported the first six months of 1998 as the "warmest first half of a year globally since records began".


8 JULY1998. VIETNAM: DISEASE (DENGUE) Vietnam News (Internet): "The central province of Quang Tri's healthcare sector reports that 83 of its 138 communes have nearly 4,500 dengue patients, ten times more than last year. The epidemic is spreading to 21 communes in Hai Lang District, which has about 1,850 patients, and 19 communes in Trieu Phong District with 1,180 patients. Healthcare workers have instructed local residents in mosquito-killing methods."--Clyde Markon <docmarkon@worldnet.att.net>VIA ProMED promed@usa.healthnet.org.


8 JULY 1998. COSTA RICA: DISEASE (DENGUE) >From a Associated Press report: "Costa Rican Health Minister Rogelio Pardo declared a red alert Tuesday for the southern part of the country because of an increase in the number of dengue fever cases.The number of cases in southern Golfito province grew from 2 to 22 last week."--Peter Petrisko ptp@primenet.com VIA ProMED promed@usa.healthnet.org.


9 JULY 1998. MALAYSIA (SARAWAK): DISEASE (DENGUE) Sarawak Tribune Online: "For the first 25 weeks of this year, 665 cases [of dengue] were reported while 668 were received for the whole of last year. The disease had killed two persons and caused brain damage to another, Assistant Environment and Public Health Minister Dr Soon Choon Teck disclosed here yesterday. The high number of cases were attributed to an outbreak of the disease especially in the Sibu region during the beginning of this year."-- Clyde Markon docmarkon@worldnet.att.net VIA ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


14 JULY1998. CHINA: FLOODS CNN reports ENSO-related flooding has flooded ten provinces, killed over 800 people, and displaced tens of millions of people..


14 JULY 1998. INDIA and BANGLADESH: FLOODS CNN reports 30 dead in Uttar Pradesh and 19 in Bangladesh following monsoonal flooding (it is not clear this is ENSO related-Ed).


14 JULY 1998. UZBEKISTAN, KYRGYZSTAN: FLOODS CNN reports up to 600 dead following flooding in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan last week (it is not clear this is ENSO related-Ed).


14 JULY 1998. CUBA: DROUGHT Cuba requested emergency aid to deal with the effects of an on-going drought, as the country has had only half its normal rainfall. April - June has been the driest in over half a century, forcing people off the land-based on a report on Earth Alert http://www.discovery.com/news/earthalert/earthalert.html.


15 JULY 1998. U.S. ATLANTIC OCEAN: JELLYFISH ENN reports that unusually warm water conditions caused by ENSO have led to the arrival of jellyfish off mid-Atlantic beaches a month earlier.


15 JULY 1998. PHILIPPINES: DISEASE (DENGUE) Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Internet Edition: "Five more persons, three of them children, died of dengue fever despite fogging operations and a province wide [Oriental Mindoro] campaign on disease awareness. This brought to 16 the number of persons who have died of the viral disease in Oriental Mindoro. The three children died between July 1 and 10. Eighty-four confirmed dengue cases were recorded from June 1 to 10 despite fogging operations in over 2,529 houses and dialogues with affected communities in six dengue-stricken towns."-- Clyde Markon <docmarkon@worldnet.att.net>VIA PROMED <promed@usa.healthnet.org>


17 JULY 1998. HONDURAS: DISEASE (DENGUE) Deutsche-Presse Agentur: "Five thousand cases of dengue fever were recorded as of Wednesday in Honduras. Another 618 were reported Tuesday in Costa Rica, where the areas most affected were the Puntarenas and Golfito regions on the country's Pacific coast."-- Dorothy Preslar dpreslar@fas.org VIA PROMED promed@usa.healthnet.org.


20 JULY 1998. HAWAII: DROUGHT The Honolulu Advertiser reports that although the drought has ended on much of the Bigi Island (Hawai'i), the Ka'u area has only received 20% of its expected rain, so the risk of fire and further agricultural loss remains. Hilo is still at 64% of normal, while South Kohala on the lee and drier side of the island has received 200 % of normal rainfall.


21 JULY 1998. ECUADOR (GALAPGOS), PERU, CHILE:SEABIRDS "Here are some notes on threatened and near-threatened seabirds species defined by Collar et al. (Birds to watch 2 : the world list of threatened birds. Cambridge, U.K. : Birdlife International, 1994) observed during a 18-months long birdwatching trip around South America.


Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus : A dozen at Bartolome, Galapagos Islands, 01.07.1996. Waved Albatross Diomedea irrorata : hundreds nesting on Española, Galapagos Islands, 28.06.1996. Dark-rumped Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia : 10 around Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, 06.07.1996. Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus : 2 from Salinas, Guayas, 16.05.1997. White-vented Storm-Petrel Oceanites gracilis : A dozen near Rabida, Galapagos Islands, 30.06.1996. Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma tethys : A few individuals near Floreana, Galapagos Islands, 29.06.96. Lava Gull Larus fuliginosus : A few individuals daily, Galapagos Islands, 26.06-10.07.1996.


Peru Humboldt Penguin : Spheniscus humboldti : a dozen, Ballestas Islands, Ica, 26.09.1997. Junin Grebe Podiceps taczanowski : 4-5 very far away, from the west coast of lake Junin, 4 km north of Ondores, Junin, 22.09.1997. Peruvian Diving-Petrel Pelecanoides garnotii : 1 from a touristical boat in Ballestas Islands, Ica, 26.09.1997. Red-legged Cormorant Phalacrocorax gaimardi : uncommon between Pacasmayo and Ballestas Islands.


Chile Humboldt Penguin : Spheniscus humboldti : common, Viña del mar, Valparaiso, 23.11.1997. Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus : a few dozen from a ferry between Puerto Montt and Chacabuco, Aysen, 10.12.1997." --Yan Ottesen yanottesen@hotmail.com VIA seabird@uct.ac.za.


24 JULY 1998: NORTHEAST U.S.:RAIN RECORD ENN reports that 13 June was the wettest day on record for both Boston, Mass., and Providence, R.I. Boston received 5.69 inches, the record was 4.36;Providence received 3.29 inches, the record was 2.97. This was the third wettest June in history for the 12 states in the Northeast, with an average of 6.32 inches, 164% above normal.


27 JULY 1998. : SALMON " On July 27, 1998, the daily average temperatures of water at Bonneville and McNary Dams on the Columbia River were 74 degrees, well in excess of the 68 degrees required by state and federal regulations. Meanwhile, the daily average temperature reached 72 degrees at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. [Assoc Press]" (salmon require cooler waters for survival) AND "Salmon in Hot Water. Between July 11 and July 14, 1998, about 4% of the 1 million fall chinook salmon juveniles passing through the collection system at McNary Dam died, likely from conditions related to elevated water temperatures. On July 27, 1998, the daily average temperatures of water at Bonneville and McNary Dams on the Columbia River were 74 degrees, well in excess of the 68 degrees required by state and federal regulations. Meanwhile, the daily average temperature reached 72 degrees at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. [Assoc Press]"-John Field <John.Field@mail.house.gov> VIA Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <FISH-SCI@SEGATE.SUNET.SE>


29 JULY 1998. U.S.: CROPS ENN reports ENSO-related climate conditions may lead to a 29% drop in the U.S. almond crop.


30 JULY 1998. ALASKA: FISHERY "AK Salmon Season. As of July 22, 1998, about 9.6 million sockeye had been caught in Bristol Bay fisheries. On July 27, 1998, the AK Dept. of Fish & Game (ADF&G) issued emergency restrictions on Kenai River sport fishing to assure that more sockeye salmon escape to spawn. Commercial fishing on Kenai-bound sockeye in Cook Inlet was closed on July 24. The sockeye return was reported as one of the poorest seen in recent years. On July 28, 1998, sockeye returns to the Kenai River were about 134,000 fish less than the 550,000 fish escapement goal, and ADF&G officials suggested that all sport fishing may be banned if more sockeye do not return. On July 28, 1998, ADF&G biologists predicted the return of Kodiak Island pink salmon could be 14 million fish, exceeding the preseason forecast of 9 million fish. On July 30, 1998, AK Governor Tony Knowles declared western AK a disaster area and outlined a $19 million aid program for communities and fishermen. [Assoc Press, Anchorage Daily News]" -John Field <John.Field@mail.house.gov> VIA Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <FISH-SCI@SEGATE.SUNET.SE>


2 AUGUST 1998. PUERTO RICO: DISEASE (DENGUE) "[These came in response to our posting the above Request For Information. Obviously, we are not receiving official information about this epidemic, else we would have posted it. We have heard the epidemic is quite a large one; 4-5 times the number of cases usually seen at this time of year and 2-3 times the 1994-1995 epidemic (at this part of the epidemic curve). In February we posted the following message (Dengue-3 - Puerto Rico 980211072625), in part: "According to the Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, an elderly San Juan man has been diagnosed with dengue 3 virus infection, a virus not detected in Puerto Rico since the 1970s. Dengue 3 virus had been absent from the Americas from 1977 until 1994, when it reappeared in Nicaragua and Panama. If the current epidemic is due to dengue 3 virus, this virus has been smoldering for six months. - Mod.CHC]" -- ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


31 JULY 1998. VIETNAM: DISEASE (DENGUE) Source: Wire services "The government of Vietnam has reported at least 166 people have died of dengue in Vietnam so far this year, four times more than at the same time last year. The Ministry of Health said nearly 70,000 people have contracted the disease this year, twice as many as at this time in 1997. In 1997, 226 of the 107,000 people who contracted the virus died. [Mortality rate in each year is 0.2% - Mod.CHC] The disease is expected to peak during the worst of the rainy season, August and September. Hospitals in some provinces were reporting overcrowding, with three patients sharing a single bed at some hospitals." --Clyde Markon docmarkon@worldnet.att.net VIA ProMED <http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html>


6 AUGUST 1998. AUSTRALIA: DISEASE (DENGUE) "We have had an ongoing battle with the dreaded dengue 3 (DEN 3) virus since December. Fighting tooth and nail, we have been able to "limit" it to 230 confirmed cases as of 4 August. However, we have been unable to put it away. Like plugging holes in the leaky boat, we have had cases show up in new areas as soon as we eliminate it from others. Interestingly, a concurrent outbreak of DEN 2 virus, the "common" S. Pacific strain, was eliminated within a month, while other outbreaks in N. Queensland have been eradicated within 2-3 months of onset. This DEN 3 virus keeps one step ahead of us, despite our use of interior spraying with pyrethroid insecticides.


Other features of the outbreak include: 1. high virulence (ca. 20% hospitalised) and 2. clustering within households The latter suggest that one mosquito is causing grief." -- Scott Ritchie <RITCHIES@health.qld.gov.au> VIA ProMED http://www.healthnet.org/programs/promed.html.


5 AUGUST 1998. CANADA: FISHERY - THE HIGH PROBABILITY THAT MANY SOCKEYE WILL DIE BEFORE SPAWNING DUE TO HIGH FRASER RIVER TEMPERATURES LEADS TO THE OPENING OF A PRE-EMPTIVE "FISH-OUT" GILLNET FISHERY ON WEDNESDAY (today) AND THURSDAY IN THE FRASER DELTA REGION. Analysis: The commercial Fraser gillnet fishery that has suddenly been opened on Wednesday, 5 days ahead of schedule, can only have serious implications for the spawning escapements of dozens of the smaller 'Early Summer' and 'Summer' sockeye salmon stocks. Opening the river to flat-out commercial fisheries because pre-mortalities are expected due to high temperatures is unprecedented in the history of fisheries management on the Fraser River, and can be directly attributed to lobbying pressure by industry, due to the large increases in prices for sockeye salmon in Canada following the poor Alaskan sockeye landings, and the 'low' Canadian dollar.


Policy Implications: Allowing this kind of thinking to dominate fisheries management spells the end of our wild salmon. Under 'risk averse' management which was supposed to be official DFO policy following the John Fraser inquiry, high river temperatures should mean that more, not less fish should be allowed to reach the spawning grounds. Even if some of the salmon do die before spawning, they will form part of a natural cycle where they will feed birds and mammals and enrich the streams for future generations of salmon and trout, as they have done for millennia. The decision makers know that the Quesnel [Horsefly] runs is highly susceptible to pre-spawning mortality, but the decision to "fish them out" can only hurt the many smaller early runs such as fragile Seymour, Scotch, Anstey, and Eagle ('Early Summer') and Late Stuart, and Stellako ('Summer') sockeye. Rebuilding, already put back by overfishing in 1994 will now be brought to a standstill."--David Ellis IN Dave's fishery reportdavidellis@lightspeed.bc.ca.


7 AUGUST 1998. FIJI: AGRICULTURE The Honolulu Advertiser reports that 40 -60 % of Fiji's sugar crop was lost to the ENSO-generated drought.


7 AUGUST 1998. MICRONESIA: DROUGHT The Honolulu Advertiser reports that one atoll in Micronesia has run dry and 37 others are also close to being without water. Pohnpei, the capital, normally enjoying one of the highest rainfalls on the planet, has been using brackish water supplies for its own needs and to supply neighboring islands.


10 AUGUST 1998. NEW YORK: INSECTS (DISEASE VECTORS) William Stevens of the New York Times reports that the warm, wet winter associated with ENSO produced an "unusually earl" increase in ticks and mosquitoes, some of them disease vectors, in the New York area.


13 AUGUST 1998. CANADA: FIRES Environmental News Network reports that scores of fires in British Columbia continue to threaten homes as 1,200 firefighters continue to try to contain them.


13 AUGUST 1998. CHINA: FLOODS CNN reports the crest of the Yangtze River successfully passed an area where officials had planned to open dikes, to spread the water out and save cities downstream. This was the fifth flood of the summer and came within less than a foot of the level where the dikes would have had to be opened. The worst flooding in 44 years. The flood has killed over 2,000 people and left millions, and caused outbreaks of dysentery, cholera and typhoid that threaten the survivors. Damage could total more than $24 billion, reducing China's growth rate by 0.5%.


13 AUGUST 1998. KOREA: FLOODS CNN reports over 250 dead and 74 missing following heavy rains in August. Rains are expected to continue. Damage is at least $450 million.


13 AUGUST 1998. BANGLADESH: FLOODS CNN reports monsoonal rains and associated landslides and flooding have killed 315 people, with 60,000 reported as contracting diarrhea.