|You are El Nino Administrator.
|Welcoming Dr. Vasquez
2:53) 12-MAR-1998 17:42 Jorge Vazquez (jvazquez)
In response to Stephen,
I don't know of any. I really hope that studies (maybe they
have already begun) will concentrate on local effects (someone
already has pointed this out and I agree completely) of
el Nino. I agree completely that the satellite data is great
but we need to start looking at how things are effected locally.
Some friends I have in Ethiopia have said it has been a devasting
year. We should look seriously to see if droughts in that
part of the world are intensified or caused by el nino.
Looking at geological records, etc. might not be a bad way
of finding out.
One more example. At John's Hopkins they are looking
at how infectious deseases are correlated with sea
surface temperature (deseases such as cholera, etc).
If so is this because of algae blooms, etc. More
attention needs to be paid to these local effects.
There are many interesting fluctuations in the rates of infectious diseases over time that are tied in to changes in climate, other than those just related to water temperature . For instance, after several years of drought, there was a wet winter in California associated with the smaller El Nino in we had in 1993. Shortly after the big increase in rainfall, we stareted seeing a massive increase in "valley fever" an infection caused by a fungus called coccidiomycosis. It turned out that the cocci spores in the soil will stay there dormant for years and years, but only convert to an infectious form after a significant amount of moisture. We hadn't seen much cocci in years during the drought, but as soon as we had enough rain, they all converted at once and there was a massive increase in the disease. It had started to taper off over the last couple of years, but we're interested to see if this winter's rains cause another increase. While we've known about cocci for decades, this association with weather has only been recognized in the last 5 years.
I really hope that more attention is paid to these locak
problems. In my humble opinion we need to fund more efforts
in understanding the coupling between the physics and biology
especially at a local level.
I have to leave for one week but thank you for the wonderful
experience. I am sure Dr. Chambers and Professor O'brien
will have more to say. If I can ever be of assitance in
the future don't hesitate to contact me at:
I will check in again on the 21st.
Thank you very much for a stimulating week--you have gotten this workshop off to a good start. Excellent job! We really appreciate the time you spent with all of us. Hope you will check back in here next week.