Book

El Niño in World History

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Abstract

This book examines the role of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in society. Throughout human history, large or recurrent El Niños could cause significant disruption to societies and in some cases even contribute to political change. Yet it is only now that we are coming to appreciate the significance of the phenomenon. In this volume, Richard Grove and George Adamson chart the dual history of El Niño: as a global phenomenon capable of devastating weather extremes and, since the 18th century, as a developing idea in science and society. The chapters trace El Niño’s position in world history from its role in the revolution in Australian Aboriginal Culture at 5,000 BP to the 2015-16 ‘Godzilla’ event. It ends with a discussion of El Niño in the current media, which is as much a product of the public imagination as it is a natural process.
... Emerging forms of forecast-based financing, for example, raise complex questions regarding postcolonial equity and the role of expertise, given that the forecasts are usually produced in the Global North and funding is diverted to hazard management in the Global South (Tadaki, Salmond, and Heron 2014;Tozier de la Poterie et al. 2018). These modes also "perform" (Hulme 2020, 277); they are ascribed with agency and personalities that enable them to be blamed for hydrometeorological disasters and hence absolve authorities of responsibility (Grove and Adamson 2018). ...
... U.S.-based researcher Jacob Bjerknes developed the first-today broadly extant-conceptual model for ENSO in 1969 (Bjerknes 1969), linking El Niño with the Southern Oscillation, itself a product of Western imperial science in British India (Adamson 2020). U.S. scientists dominated the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere project from 1985to 1994(McPhaden et al. 1998, and U.S. media also dominated international framings from the 1990s onward with the widespread coverage of the 1997-1998 "El Niño of the People" (Glantz 2015, 95; see also Grove and Adamson 2018). ...
... Despite ENSO research being centered on the United States, ENSO is a phenomenon that is considered to be global in reach. It is traditionally associated with flooding and landslides in Peru and Ecuador, including notable recent flooding events in 1983 and 1998 (Grove and Adamson 2018), although the first systematic attempt to map ENSO "teleconnections" (areas where meteorological variability is related to ENSO) by Ropelewski andHalpert (1987, 1607) showed El Niño events to be associated with precipitation anomalies across the world, including Australasia, Central and South America, Indonesia and the western Pacific islands, southern and east Africa and the Indian subcontinent, as well the United States. El Niño has been implicated in famines in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Sahel throughout the twentieth century. ...
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Modes of climate variability such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) have important implications for how climate risks are understood and prepared for. This article establishes a new critical geography of ENSO research practice through examination of the production of ENSO science in three U.S. research centers, chosen for their dominance in ENSO knowledge production and their location outside of “teleconnection” regions. Scientists in these institutions revealed multiple and sometimes conflicting conceptualizations of ENSO and expressed disagreement over which components are most significant for research and wider society. Yet two factors are revealed that tend ENSO science toward the reductive: the increasing conceptualization of ENSO as a modeling problem associated with the importance of general circulation models and an institutional drive for simplicity in indexes and definitions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both have implications for disaster management and the broader geographies of risk, by reducing a multifaceted phenomenon into a set of indexes, definitions, and methodologies. The article thus argues for a new research agenda on the critical geographies of ENSO research practice, particularly focusing on the role of institutional priorities in constraining the practice and presentation of science.
... El fenómeno El Niño de 1982-1983: breve recuento de sus impactos a nivel global El fenómeno El Niño de 1982-1983 fue el primero en recibir una amplia difusión en los medios de comunicación de masas. Informes y reportajes en revistas como Reader's Digest y National Geographic comenzaron a referirse a "El Niño" como un fenómeno climático de alcance planetario, que se producía por el calentamiento de la superficie de las aguas del Océano Pacifico Oriental, lo cual afectaba directamente las condiciones atmosféricas globales, provocando graves inundaciones o sequías en los distintos continentes (Grove y Adamson, 2018). La Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (1997) estimó que El Niño de 1982-1983 causó pérdidas por más de diez mil millones de dólares. ...
... Además, se registraron sequías en el sur de la India y en Sri Lanka. Etiopía, por su parte, experimentó una grave sequía, que fue utilizada en su favor por la dictadura etíope, originando una guerra civil y una gran hambruna, particularmente fuerte entre 1984 y 1985 (Grove y Adamson, 2018). ...
... Asimismo, los daños a los sistemas de alcantarillado causaron varias epidemias y enfermedades, en particular gastroenteritis y fiebre tifoidea. La mala alimentación también favoreció la propagación de la tuberculosis (Grove y Adamson, 2018;Caviedes, 1984). ...
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Los vínculos entre fenómenos meteorológicos severos y las crisis políticas, sociales y económicas suscitadas en el devenir histórico no han sido precisamente el foco de atención en la historiografía nacional. El objetivo de este estudio se concentra en analizar los efectos económicos, políticos y sociales del fenómeno El Niño 1982-1983 en un contexto de dictadura, con especial atención en el problema de la movilización social poblacional y de las políticas de vivienda. Las fuentes primarias estudiadas fueron publicaciones periódicas nacionales tales como diarios y revistas, además de la revisión de bibliografía especializada. Se propone que, en un contexto de recesión económica e inundaciones, y ante la ausencia del Estado, la organización de ollas comunes se configuró como la principal herramienta para enfrentar la crisis socio-ecológica desencadenada por los temporales, incentivando la creación de lazos de solidaridad entre vecinos y opositores que menoscabarían la autoridad del régimen militar. Al mismo tiempo, las inundaciones legitimaron la política de erradicaciones, una de las más grandes operaciones urbanas en la historia de Santiago de Chile.
... El fenómeno El Niño de 1982-1983: breve recuento de sus impactos a nivel global El fenómeno El Niño de 1982-1983 fue el primero en recibir una amplia difusión en los medios de comunicación de masas. Informes y reportajes en revistas como Reader's Digest y National Geographic comenzaron a referirse a "El Niño" como un fenómeno climático de alcance planetario, que se producía por el calentamiento de la superficie de las aguas del Océano Pacifico Oriental, lo cual afectaba directamente las condiciones atmosféricas globales, provocando graves inundaciones o sequías en los distintos continentes (Grove y Adamson, 2018). La Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (1997) estimó que El Niño de 1982-1983 causó pérdidas por más de diez mil millones de dólares. ...
... Además, se registraron sequías en el sur de la India y en Sri Lanka. Etiopía, por su parte, experimentó una grave sequía, que fue utilizada en su favor por la dictadura etíope, originando una guerra civil y una gran hambruna, particularmente fuerte entre 1984 y 1985 (Grove y Adamson, 2018). ...
... Asimismo, los daños a los sistemas de alcantarillado causaron varias epidemias y enfermedades, en particular gastroenteritis y fiebre tifoidea. La mala alimentación también favoreció la propagación de la tuberculosis (Grove y Adamson, 2018;Caviedes, 1984). ...
Article
Full-text available
Los vínculos entre fenómenos meteorológicos severos y las crisis políticas, sociales y económicas, suscitadas en el devenir histórico, no han sido precisamente el foco de atención en la historiografía nacional. El objetivo de este estudio se concentra en analizar los efectos económicos, políticos y sociales del fenómeno El Niño 1982-1983 en un contexto de dictadura, con especial atención en los problemas de movilización social poblacional y de políticas de vivienda. Las fuentes primarias estudiadas fueron publicaciones periódicas nacionales, tales como diarios y revistas, además de la revisión de bibliografía especializada. Se propone que, en un contexto de recesión económica e inundaciones, y ante la ausencia del Estado, la organización de ollas comunes se configuró como la principal herramienta para enfrentar la crisis socioecológica desencadenada por los temporales, incentivando la creación de lazos de solidaridad entre vecinos y opositores que menoscabarían la autoridad del régimen militar. Al mismo tiempo, las inundaciones legitimaron la política de erradicaciones, una de las más grandes operaciones urbanas en la historia de Santiago de Chile.
... Changes in the environment, as a result of disturbance, can play an important role in filtering traits in ground beetles (Shibuya et al. 2011;Pakeman and Stockan 2014;Piano et al. 2017;Magura and Lövei 2019; but see Kraft et al. 2015). ENSO is a recurring event in the TDF landscape (Caviedes 2001;Grove and Adamson 2018), and is likely to have had a strong filtering effect on insect communities (see Kotze and Lawes 2007;Meir and Pennington 2011). If this is the case, species in this landscape are expected to display traits that cope with harsh conditions, but abundances may fluctuate substantially between wet and dry periods, particularly so during ENSO events. ...
Article
The tropical dry forest (TDF) ecosystem is characterised by strong seasonality exasperated periodically by the El Niño/southern oscillation (ENSO). The environment produced by this event could constrain the survival of small organisms, such as insects. Carabid beetles were collected in a TDF in Armero, Colombia, during wet and dry seasons in both El Niño and non-El Niño periods. A series of traits linked to desiccation resistance were measured to characterise their adaptation to the TDF environment and to investigate changes experienced by carabid beetles during both episodes in quantitative (assemblage) and qualitative (traits) parameters. We found no difference in the presence of traits between El Niño and non-El Niño episodes, but carabid assemblages changed significantly in composition and assemblage structure between these episodes. During both periods, small-sized and nocturnal species dominated the assemblages, but in terms of number of individuals, medium and large-sized, and visual hunter species dominated. Calosoma alternans and Megacephala affinis were the most abundant species with high dispersal capacity. Carabid beetles exhibited morphological traits well-adapted to drought experienced in TDF, including when it is exasperated by ENSO. However, long-term studies can help to elucidate the real effects of ENSO and to confirm the adaptation of carabid beetles to cope with this extreme environment.
... El Niño was originally recognized by South American fishers in the 1600s as an unusual warm ocean current off the coast of Peru (Garcia-Herrera et al., 2008;Grove & Adamson, 2018). The name (Christ Child in Spanish), first used in scientific literature in 1893, was linked to the time of year (around December) during which these warm water events tended to occur. ...
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El Niño events were first perceived several centuries ago as a dramatic change in the marine resources along the Peruvian coast. It is now recognized as part of the world's largest natural climate fluctuation: the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). There is a rapidly growing body of scientific literature showing that ENSO has physical and ecological impacts throughout the Pacific Ocean and more broadly across the other oceanic basins through atmospheric teleconnections. This review details a range of these examples in all major ecosystems impacted by ENSO in the Pacific Ocean. Teleconnections with other basins are also discussed, as are the diversity of changes associated with ENSO phases and their consequences on fisheries sustained by these ecosystems. Information is provided on the emerging complexity of the connection between ENSO and the ocean ecosystems, and particularly the diversity of El Niño types, characterized by eastern and central spatial patterns and differences in intensity. As these mechanisms become better understood, useful predictive capacity for ecosystem and fisheries management will result. However, growing evidences suggest that climate change may have already started interacting with ENSO dynamics and effects, complicating mechanistic understanding.
... The near global reach of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has also inspired interest in its cultural history, especially after the especially strong El Niño events of 1982of /1983of and 1997of (Glantz, 2001. Historians have shown how ENSO events in the late 18th and 19th centuries contributed to revolutions in the Atlantic world and Europe, as well as droughts and famine in India, Africa, South America, and Australia (Damodaran et al., 2018;Davis, 2000;Grove, 1997;Grove & Adamson, 2018;Johnson, 2011). Reconstructions of monsoon variability over South Asia are likely to offer similar insights into the human history of the Indian Ocean world . ...
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This essay integrates the largely separate trajectories of climate and water histories, their distinct historiographies, and their different methods and expertise. Informed by the human‐nature insights of environmental history and historical geography, this paper identifies four intersections between histories of climate and water: first, conceptualizations of the climate and hydrological systems; second, adaptations to climate and hydrological variability and change; third, weather control; and finally, water over time. These particular intersections shed light on shared concerns for human relations to water and climate across different spatial and temporal scales; the development and function of networks of environmental knowledge; the formation and impact of environmental imaginaries; and the emergence of particular cultures of risk and resilience. The English‐language histories of climate and water to which I refer pertain largely to the study of the 19th and 20th centuries in relation to the spread of European and North American empires. Histories of water, I argue, offer more personal and localized insights into histories of climate and climate change. This article is categorized under: • Climate, History, Society, Culture > World Historical Perspectives
... Hazard year Impact of food system El Niño (drought and fires) Pre-contact Many stories suggested the largest drought the Bedamuni experienced occurred pre-contact. While there have been many El Niño events in the deep past (e.g., the "Great" El Niño 1790-94 [Grove and Adamson, 2018]), in the early 20th century severe El Niño's occurred in 1905, 1926, and 1941/2 (Gergis and Fowler, 2009). ...
Article
The exposure of vulnerable food systems to hazards often leads to outcomes such as food insecurity. In order to prevent such food insecurity, it is critical to understand the causal factors-or root causes-of vulnerability, particularly in a world of increasing risk. As such, this paper develops and implements a food system causal disaster vulnerability framework within the Bedamuni tribe of Papua New Guinea. Although changing, Bedamuni livelihoods remain centred on subsistence swidden agriculture, hunting, and gathering. The framework developed here considers food systems as socioecological systems that through, for example, ecosystem use, provision, and social institutions should ideally provide food security along with other forms of social and cultural welfare. As detailed in the paper, disaster vulnerability is considered a function of exposure (temporal and spatial), susceptibility (as historical, socio-human, psychological, economic, environmental, physical, cultural , and governance dimensions), livelihood resilience (as knowledge, power and participation, capabilities, assets, and social capital) and absorptive, adaptive, and transformational capacities. The study is based on in-depth mixed methods fieldwork undertaken in 25 villages throughout the Bedamuni territory and incorporates established ethnographic approaches (e.g., participant observation, garden and disaster transect walks, and interviews) and a novel culturally appropriate approach (e.g., 31 "longhouse stories" lasting 1-3 h). The study reveals the main drivers of increasing vulnerability relate to historical, ecological, social, and psychological dimensions of susceptibility and declining adaptive capacity. The need for transformational change is suggested but is hindered by declining self-efficacy, inertia and a lack of knowledge of how to address factors such as population growth, declining land productivity, climate change, and increasing garden pests and diseases. Taken together with high exposure to El Niño droughts (e.g., 1971/2, 1982/3, 1997, 2015/16) and earthquakes (e.g., ~1950, 2018), disaster vulnerability is concerningly high and participants suggest is increasing. This paper is an empirically grounded argument for using causal approaches that look beyond outcomes to identify drivers of vulnerability in food systems. The framework and empirical evidence presented provides researchers, NGOs, and policy makers guidance and entry points for reducing vulnerability and increasing the resilience of marginalised Indigenous food systems in Papua New Guinea and potentially beyond.
... In the Arctic region, there are maximum positive temperature trends of about 0.45 degrees per decade, which is more than two times higher than the global average for both air temperature ( Figure 4) and SST (Figure 1). The maximum trends in the Arctic correspond to the phenomenon of the Arctic amplification [52,64,65,69]. At the same time, the temperature trend in the Arctic is three times higher than the maximum local SST trend according to ERA5 data and 10 times higher than the minimum SST trend according to Met Office data ( Figure 3). ...
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The influence of sea-surface temperature (SST) on the lower troposphere and lower stratosphere temperature in the tropical, middle, and polar latitudes is studied for 1980–2019 based on the MERRA2, ERA5, and Met Office reanalysis data, and numerical modeling with a chemistry-climate model (CCM) of the lower and middle atmosphere. The variability of SST is analyzed according to Met Office and ERA5 data, while the variability of atmospheric temperature is investigated according to MERRA2 and ERA5 data. Analysis of sea surface temperature trends based on reanalysis data revealed that a significant positive SST trend of about 0.1 degrees per decade is observed over the globe. In the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, the trend (about 0.2 degrees per decade) is 2 times higher than the global average, and 5 times higher than in the Southern Hemisphere (about 0.04 degrees per decade). At polar latitudes, opposite SST trends are observed in the Arctic (positive) and Antarctic (negative). The impact of the El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon on the temperature of the lower and middle atmosphere in the middle and polar latitudes of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is discussed. To assess the relative influence of SST, CO2, and other greenhouse gases’ variability on the temperature of the lower troposphere and lower stratosphere, numerical calculations with a CCM were performed for several scenarios of accounting for the SST and carbon dioxide variability. The results of numerical experiments with a CCM demonstrated that the influence of SST prevails in the troposphere, while for the stratosphere, an increase in the CO2 content plays the most important role.
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This paper explores a crucial dilemma behind the failure of climate politics: the “dehumanization” of the concept of climate, i.e., the emergence of a predominance of global perspectives, conceptions, and knowledge of climate, which do not translate into local knowledge, experience, and political action. On the one hand, twentieth-century climate science improved understanding of global climate change tremendously. On the other hand, it focused on reductionist quantification and modeling and emphasis on large spatial and temporal scales. This research direction produced large- and global-scale knowledge and can aptly be described as knowledge from above. Climatology in its original Humboldtian conception, in contrast, focused on detailed local information. The human dimension—the support of human affairs—was at the core of it. This understanding of climatology involved priority of local-scale knowledge and can be regarded a version of knowledge from below, which still predominated in the first half of the twentieth century. In my paper, I will explore the question how the understanding of climate was “dehumanized” by globalizing research approaches and scientific conceptions through the twentieth century. Scientific and political interests pushed a globalizing agenda and produced a conceptual and discursive detachment of climate knowledge from human scales. The paper argues that it is important to understand the historical and ideological foundation of knowledge from above and its epistemic and social authority, if we aim at re-establishing recognition of knowledge from below and the lost links between both types of knowledge.
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The use of documentary evidence to investigate past climatic trends and events has become a recognised approach in recent decades. This contribution presents the state of the art in its application to droughts. The range of documentary evidence is very wide, including general annals, chronicles, memoirs and diaries kept by missionaries, travellers and those specifically interested in the weather; records kept by administrators tasked with keeping accounts and other financial and economic records; legal-administrative evidence; religious sources; letters; songs; newspapers and journals; pictographic evidence; chronograms; epigraphic evidence; early instrumental observations; society commentaries; and compilations and books. These are available from many parts of the world. This variety of documentary information is evaluated with respect to the reconstruction of hydroclimatic conditions (precipitation, drought frequency and drought indices). Documentary-based drought reconstructions are then addressed in terms of long-term spatio-temporal fluctuations, major drought events, relationships with external forcing and large-scale climate drivers, socio-economic impacts and human responses. Documentary-based drought series are also considered from the viewpoint of spatio-temporal variability for certain continents, and their employment together with hydroclimate reconstructions from other proxies (in particular tree rings) is discussed. Finally, conclusions are drawn, and challenges for the future use of documentary evidence in the study of droughts are presented.
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O avanço da tecnologia por meio do uso de imagens de satélites vem impulsionando os vários tipos de monitoramento da superfície terrestre. Embasado nesse avanço, este artigo tem como objetivo analisar a cobertura vegetal na bacia hidrográfica do Ribeirão das Cabras, locada no município de Campinas/SP, utilizando técnicas de sensoriamento remoto para a determinação do Índice de Vegetação por Diferença Normalizada - IVDN. O trabalho utilizou imagens dos satélites Landsat 5 TM e Landsat 8 OLI no período da estação chuvosa da região nos anos de 1986, 1992, 1999, 2004, 2011 e 2018. Para cada imagem foi calculado os valores de IVDN e agrupados em seis classes. O resultado das imagens mostrou que as áreas com cobertura vegetal mais intensa sofreram pequenas alterações no período. O destaque principal foi observado na classe que caracterizam os corpos hídricos, demonstrando um aumento da capacidade de reserva por meio de construção de açudes na região. Essas estruturas foram implantadas, em grande parte, a partir de projetos e construções inadequadas. Esses elementos potencializam os eventos de inundações na região por rompimento destas estruturas de barragens. Sendo assim, considerou a classificação das imagens utilizando o IVDN uma ferramenta que propicia um entendimento e analise da dinâmica da cobertura vegetal em diferentes tipos de escala e sazonalidades, determinando condições de aumento do potencial de risco de desastres ao meio.
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The El Niño Southern Oscillation is considered to be the most significant form of ‘natural’ climate variability, although its definition and the scientific understanding of the phenomenon is continually evolving. Since its first recorded usage in 1891, the meaning of ‘El Niño’ has morphed from a regular local current affecting coastal Peru, to an occasional Pacific-wide phenomenon that modifies weather patterns throughout the world, and finally to a diversity of weather patterns that share similarities in Pacific heating and changes in trade wind intensity, but exhibit considerable variation in other ways. From the 1960s El Niño has been associated with the Southern Oscillation, originally defined as a statistical relationship in pressure patterns across the Pacific by the British-Indian scientist Gilbert Walker. The first unified model for the El Niño-Southern Oscillation was developed by Jacob Bjerknes in 1969 and it has been updated several times since, but no simple model yet explains apparent diversity in El Niño events. ENSO forecasting has come to be considered a considerable success, but each event still displays surprising characteristics.
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El objetivo de Historia entrelazada y el medio ambiente es introducir factores climáticos y otros factores ambientales en el debate poscolonial sobre la desigualdad en las relaciones de poder entre la metrópoli y sus colonias. El tratamiento de ambos, medio ambiente e imperio, así como las relaciones (coloniales) desiguales de poder, hasta ahora se han producido en gran medida en campos separados, la historia del medio ambiente y los estudios poscoloniales. El libro trata de unir las dos vertientes y combina la perspectiva conceptual de la historia entrelazada y las prácticas de comparación a fin de destacar los aspectos tanto materiales como construidos (o discursivos) del medio ambiente como factor de formación de relaciones (coloniales) desiguales de poder. Se realizan dos casos prácticos a través de esta óptica conceptual. El primero ofrece una nueva perspectiva sobre el primer contacto de Cristóbal Colón con los arahuacos en La Española en 1492, y el segundo cuestiona cómo el clima se convirtió en un argumento para esclavizar africanos y desplazarlos a las plantaciones de azúcar en el Caribe.
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This chapter is the first to interpret the rupture of the 1820 Britanno-Merina alliance in the context of human–environment interaction, rather than in purely human terms. In 1825–1826 and 1828–1829, Imerina, the central province of Madagascar, experienced environmental crises, notably severe droughts that were probably part of a wider drought crisis affecting Indian Ocean Africa. The droughts, and accompanying events such as locust plagues and epidemics, contributed to provoke a political crisis that led the Merina under Radama I (r. 1810–1826) and his successor Ranavalona I (r. 1828–1861) to reject the 1820 treaty and British pretensions to political hegemony, and emboldened it in the late 1820s and early 1830s to expel the British Resident Agent, declare suzerainty over the entire island, and implement autarky—events that indelibly shaped the history of nineteenth-century Madagascar.
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Weathering is atmospheric, geological, temporal, transformative. It implies exposure to the elements and processes of wearing down, disintegration, or accrued patina. Weathering can also denote the ways in which subjects and objects resist and pass through storms and adversity. This volume contemplates weathering across many fields and disciplines; its contributions examine various surfaces, environments, scales, temporalities, and vulnerabilities. What does it mean to weather or withstand? Who or what is able to pass through safely? What is lost or gained in the process?
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Understanding the trends of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and its influential meteorological variables due to climate change is required for studying the hydrological cycle, vegetation restoration, and regional agricultural production. Although several studies have evaluated these trends, they suffer from a number of drawbacks: (1) they used data series of less than 50 years; (2) they evaluated the individual impact of a few climatic variables on ETo, and thus could not represent the interactive effects of all forces driving trends of ETo; (3) they mostly studied trends of ETo and meteorological variables in similar climate regions; (4) they often did not eliminate the impact of serial correlations on the trends of ETo and meteorological variables; and finally (5) they did not study the extremum values of meteorological variables and ETo. This study overcame the abovementioned shortcomings by (1) analyzing the 50-year (1961–2010) annual trends of ETo and 12 meteorological variables from 18 study sites in contrasting climate types in Iran, (2) removing the effect of serial correlations on the trends analysis via the trend-free pre-whitening approach, (3) determining the most important meteorological variables that control the variations of ETo, and (4) evaluating the coincidence of annual extremum values of meteorological variables and ETo. The results showed that ETo and several meteorological variables (namely wind speed, vapor pressure deficit, cloudy days, minimum relative humidity, and mean, maximum and minimum air temperature) had significant trends at the confidence level of 95% in more than 50% of the study sites. These significant trends were indicative of climate change in many regions of Iran. It was also found that the wind speed (WS) had the most significant influence on the trend of ETo in most of the study sites, especially in the years with extremum values of ETo. In 83.3% of the study sites (i.e., all arid, Mediterranean and humid regions and 66.7% of semiarid regions), both ETo and WS reached their extremum values in the same year. The significant changes in ETo due to WS and other meteorological variables have made it necessary to optimize cropping patterns in Iran.
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This chapter brings a climatic perspective to the study of Singaporean history by exploring the impacts of the strong El Niño inspired droughts of 1877, 1902 and 1911. The narrative focuses on unpacking the nexus of nature-inspired versus human-induced vulnerability to drought within the contexts of colonial urbanisation and looks at the short-to medium-term impacts of the events on society. It also explores how such events inspired new questions about the climate and regional teleconnections, as a wealth of evidence became available due to the increasingly connected nature of scientific institutions, scientific literature, and communications systems across the Indian Ocean World (IOW). By exploring the region climatically, this chapter connects with the others collated here to show how, despite the regional and national differences, the experience of climate-induced environmental disaster can provide a shared narrative across the IOW.
Thesis
On 8 June 1783 the Icelandic volcano, Laki, began an eight-month long eruption which resulted indirectly in the deaths of some 10,000 people, mainly through starvation. This thesis reappraises the effects that the Laki eruption may have had throughout Europe by means of a detailed analysis of the appropriate parish registers and burial records. The year 1783 has earned the title of “Annus Mirabilis” or year of wonders, owing to the many unusual events that occurred. An evil smelling dry mist, generated by Laki, spread over much of Europe, even reaching as far as China. A disastrous series of earthquakes hit Calabria and Sicily causing a great number of deaths. In many places the summer was unseasonably hot followed by an exceedingly cold winter, causing rivers to freeze over, and severe flooding on thawing the following spring. These and many other events were researched through the medium of contemporary, scientific, and popular literature. Finally, the Laki eruption was compared to five other famous volcanic eruptions, the London “killer smog” of 1952, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the following question answered, was Laki the villain or fall guy?
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xtreme events of tropical typhoons in summer cause a number of casualties as well as a tremendous amount of social and financial loss. Such climate changes are expected to continue in the 21st century, and the intensity and frequency of typhoons over the Pacific Northwest region will increase. As a result, serious damage over East Asia is expected, and thus, quantitative evaluation of the possible influence and establishment of a disaster-preventive system is urgent. Extreme hydrometeorological events are critically important not only for their episodic impacts, such as floods or droughts, but also for their significant contribution to seasonal freshwater supplies that maintain the integrity of the human and natural system.
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Methodologically, this chapter explores the VOC (Dutch East India Company) archives and draws upon Richard Grove’s formulation of coeval early modern climatic anomalies across South-and-South-East Asia to analyse the impact of the 1685–1687 ENSO in northern Coromandel (South Asia) that coalesced with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s southern campaigns (1682–1707). The chapter argues that while crop failures could often briskly affect non-combatants such as peasants and weavers, combatants were also quite vulnerable to diminishing food security. Coeval ENSO-driven South Asian and South-East Asian climatic anomalies forged connections across the Indian Ocean World: Drought-and-famine-induced exigencies in South Asia created congenial conditions for the VOC to ship climate refugees to South-east Asia to work their plantations, where anomalous rainfall may have contributed to the spread of depopulating epidemic diseases. The chapter concludes that the 1685–1687 ENSO—along with coeval warfare and political instability—marked a turning point in northern Coromandel’s economy.
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This chapter examines a huge flood in the Northwest Philippines caused by a typhoon during the strong El Niño of 1867. The ‘great flood’ for nineteenth-century inhabitants of the Ilocos region occurred on 25–27 September 1867. The typhoon sent a huge amount of water rushing down the hills of the Abra Valley. This extraordinary flood, with waters reaching a height of 25 meters (82 feet) above normal level, killed 1800 persons and many thousands more draft animals. The newspaper accounts following the disaster and the urgent reports sent by the provincial governor led the Manila authorities to declare a state of emergency. The colonial government launched a public subscription in the Philippines and Spain to meet the relief and recovery needs of the people of Ilocos. The chapter also briefly recounts the deeds of a remarkable female first responder who saved several hundred lives during the flood.
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This chapter investigates the effects of the 1876–1878 El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole on equatorial eastern Africa. The region under review comprises mainland regions of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, broadly corresponding to the central caravan route that linked inland regions to the wider Indian Ocean World through the nineteenth-century global ivory trade. It begins by using missionary and limnological sources to reconstruct climate in the region during the event. Notwithstanding some regional variations, the sources suggest that widespread drought occurred in 1876, with floods occurring in 1877–1878. Such an assessment is in line with climatological models that project El Niño’s effect on the region’s climate. It then examines how this drought and subsequent floods affected the region’s history. In so doing, it links this global climatic anomaly to disrupted agriculture, an epidemic of smallpox, an epizootic of bovine trypanosomiasis, and political instability.
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This introductory chapter sets out the thematic and methodological approaches taken in the remainder of the book. It argues that droughts and floods, triggered by global climatic anomalies associated with, for example, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole, volcanism, and sunspot activity, are crucial to the conception of the Indian Ocean World. It does so by engaging with the Braudelian concept of ‘deep structure.’ In Indian Ocean World Studies, this deep structure is the Indian Ocean monsoon system, which underpinned agriculture and thus the economy until at least c.1900 across the macro-region. But, while Braudel conceived of ‘deep structure’ as an almost unchanging environmental context in his study of the Mediterranean World, in the Indian Ocean World, changes occur regularly owing to the effects of global climatic anomalies on the monsoon system. The potential rapidity of ‘deep structure’ in Indian Ocean World studies, partly visible through an analysis of drought and flood events, represents a core rationale for this book.
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This handbook chapter aims to give an overview over natural disasters in an Interamerican perspective (North, South, and the Caribbean) including aspects such as geography, climate, culture, and disaster management from pre-Columbian times to the present.
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