Scientists Tackle Climate Variability, Global Warming at Paris Meeting
BOULDER -- In a major agenda-setting conference that will guide much of the world's climate research for the next decade, representatives from over 60 countries will gather in Paris December 2-4 to examine questions relating to natural climate variability, the human role in global climate change, and the predictability of global and regional climate.
The Climate Variability and Predictability Study (CLIVAR) of the World Climate Research Programme is "the largest, most comprehensive international climate research program ever undertaken," according to Kevin Trenberth, co-chair of the CLIVAR scientific steering group. Trenberth will deliver a keynote address on CLIVAR's recently published implementation plan and on the evolution of CLIVAR science. He is also head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation (NSF).
At the meeting, a large U.S. delegation, including representatives from NSF, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will outline the U.S. support and plans. The U.S. group is headed by Michael Hall (NOAA's Office of Global Programs), who will give the closing keynote address.
Attendees will define climate issues relevant to their own regions and map out collaborative efforts to answer the most pressing questions. Among the new research presented at the meeting will be
Created in 1993, the 15-year CLIVAR program focuses on the interaction of the oceans and the atmosphere and their role in the earth's overall climate. CLIVAR's goal is to enhance scientists' ability to predict climate on both global and regional scales from a season to a century. Such predictions might warn Kenyan farmers of heavy El Nino-related rains that could drown crops, alert towns along the western Atlantic coast of the projected intensity of the brewing hurricane season as La Nina builds in the Pacific, or caution Indonesian brush burners of an expected fire-prolonging drought.
The meeting will be held at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) center in Paris. For more, please contact David Hosansky at
NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.
A Perspective on the Weather Events of 1997 and 1998
Following is an excerpt from a paper by Kevin Trenberth, submitted to the journal Consequences--The Nature & Implications of Environmental Change (www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/introCON.html), describing recent climate extremes and their impacts in the United States and elsewhere. This excerpt may be reproduced with proper credit to the author and the journal, Consequences.
The August 1998 issue of Life magazine featured "WEATHER" as its cover story and claimed 16,367 dead and $45.2 billion in damage since the beginning of 1997. After this story was written, other major weather- related disasters occurred. For instance, major floods devastated parts of Korea in early August and extensive heavy rains in China led to flooding of the Yangtze River where there are preliminary reports of more than 2,000 deaths, over 14 million people homeless, and over $25 billion in damage. Heat waves and air pollution episodes have also plagued many regions, particularly in Egypt, across the Mediterranean, and southern Europe. At least 10,000 Central Americans were killed and many thousands more made homeless in the fall of 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest and fourth-strongest Atlantic hurricane of this century.
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Last revised: Mon Nov 30 14:19:25 MST 1998