28 August 1997
El Niño hits output worldwide

SCIENTISTS believe the recent flooding in central Europe and drought in North Korea and central China may be due to the El Niño weather system that periodically disrupts the worlds climate.

The phenomenon could surpass that of 1982-83, when adverse weather conditions claimed nearly 2,000 lives and damaged crops and property worth $13 billion (£8.8bn). It hit crop and commodity production worldwide.

Output forecasts for this year are already being scaled down substantially, with severe drought conditions predicted in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern Africa, Argentina and northern Brazil.

El Niños peak is likely to be reached early in 1998 before the weather returns to normal next summer.

A three-day international conference on climate research in Geneva, Switzerland, ends today.

  • Financial Times 28/08/97 page 4