. "6. APPLICATIONS OF ENSO PREDICTION." Learning to Predict Climate Variations Associated with El Nino and the Southern Oscillation: Accomplishments and Legacies of the TOGA Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1996.
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Learning to Predict Climate Variations Associated with El Niño and the Southern Oscillation: Accomplishments and Legacies of the TOGA Program
droughts, had already established global connections. However, decision makers in Peru were not aware of this climate information that might be useful for their planning of agriculture and aquaculture. The global socioeconomic effects of ENSO did not attract intense interest until after the severe conditions of 1982–1983. Just as the 1982–83 climate anomalies mobilized the meteorological and oceanographic scientific communities under TOGA, so did the related human suffering draw the attention of the social, economic, and political communities. Drought in Australia, Indonesia, northeast Brazil, and southeast Africa, along with flooding in Ecuador, Peru, southeastern South America, and the western and southern tier of the United States, had adverse effects on social conditions and some economic sectors. Economists, social scientists, anthropologists, and politicians came together with the physical scientists to study the global societal effects of ENSO.
One of the legacies of the TOGA program is the dialogue that was established between the physical and social sciences (Moura 1992). This exchange of ENSO information was critical to the ultimate success of the program. Prior to TOGA, most information on ENSO impacts was anecdotal and derived from the popular press. TOGA helped to sponsor and support several forums for those with a common interest in ENSO. Sociologists, economists, and politicians were informed of the advances in and limitations of experimental ENSO forecasts. Climate scientists learned of the needs and problems of policy and decision makers. Education and training programs were geared to the application of ENSO forecasts for participants from tropical and developing nations. Collaborative arrangements were initiated between potential providers and users of ENSO forecasts. The governments of countries that are most directly affected by ENSO (e.g., Peru, Brazil, and Australia) now routinely take experimental ENSO forecasts into account when making decisions.
It was within this context of being able to provide societally relevant climate information to the countries affected by ENSO that a proposal (Moura 1992) for an International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRICP) arose. In June 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Bush administration committed the United States to implementing “a pilot project to demonstrate the operating concepts embodied in the plan and invited government officials and scientists from all interested nations to join in developing an International Research Institute for Climate Prediction” (OMB 1992).
DEVELOPMENT OF APPLICATIONS AND ASSESSMENTS
ENSO forecasts are societally relevant because the agrarian sectors in tropical countries depend critically on the water received during the rainy season. In the