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Disasters. 1995 Sep;19(3):181-93.

ENSO and disaster: droughts, floods and El Niño/Southern Oscillation warm events.

Abstract

The connection between El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and precipitation and temperature variability worldwide is increasingly well understood. ENSO has been linked to droughts and flooding in some regions. This paper uses the disaster history database of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to examine the link between ENSO events and droughts or floods of sufficient magnitude to trigger international disasters. Worldwide, disasters triggered by droughts are twice as frequent during year two of ENSO warm events than during other years. No such relationship is apparent in the case of flood disasters. Drought disasters occur during year two of ENSO warm events significantly more frequently than in other years in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. No regional pattern emerges from a comparable analysis of flood disasters. Those places likely to be affected by ENSO-triggered droughts can take proactive measures to mitigate the impacts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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