Two books focus on forecasting climate, weather

December 28, 2001

Two new books from NCAR/UCAR authors: El Nino of the Century, Forecasting from Space

BOULDER--Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research examine forecasting from multiple angles in two new books. One spells out the lessons learned by policy makers and emergency planners from the 1997-98 El Nino and how to make best use of El Nino forecasts next time. The other shows how improved weather and climate forecasting will emerge from a new program over the next decade to monitor key atmospheric conditions via satellite. NCAR and UCAR contributors are listed in boldface below.

--Once Burned, Twice Shy? Lessons Learned from the 1997-98 El Nino, edited by Michael H. Glantz. United Nations University Press, 2001, 294 pp., ISBN 92-808-1063-4, paper.

This book draws on a 19-month, UN-sponsored assessment of 16 countries that examined what worked and what didn't in national responses to the forecasts and impacts of the 1997-98 El Nino. Dubbed the "El Nino of the Century," that event's worldwide impacts took hundreds of lives and left behind at least $32 billion in damages. Researchers looked at early-warning and natural disaster preparedness systems in a number of countries with an eye to improving their coping mechanisms for El Nino and other climate-related events.

The international roster of authors address specific lessons learned in Bangladesh, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, and Vietnam. Key research and policy needs are identified. A brief summary of "how to use an El Nino forecast," designed for residents of any vulnerable country, and answers to questions frequently asked by the media accompany executive summaries, a glossary, and index.

Michael Glantz is a senior scientist and the former director of NCAR's Environmental and Societal Impacts Group. This is his 17th book on climate and society.

Ordering the book: A limited number of copies, plus CD-ROMs with the full text of country reports, are available free of charge. In the Western Hemisphere, contact NCAR Environmental and Societal Impacts Group: P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307, USA. Telephone: +1- 303-497-8134; fax: +1-303-497-8125; e-mail:; Web: For the rest of the world, contact UNU Press at 53-70, Jingumae 5-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150- 8925, Japan. Telephone: +81-3-3499-2811; fax: +81-3-3406-7345; e- mail:; Web:

On the Web: The Case of the 1997-98 El Nino:

--Applications of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC), edited by Lou- Chuang Lee, Robert Kursinski, and Christian Rocken. Springer- Verlag, 2001, 380 pp., ISBN 962-430-135-2, hardcover.

A collection of contributions by experts from space research institutions describing a joint United States-Taiwan project: the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate. Slated for launch in 2005, each COSMIC microsatellite will intercept Global Positioning System signals and convert them to temperature, moisture, and pressure information throughout the global atmosphere. The satellite constellation will retrieve as many as 4,000 readings of the atmosphere each day. The result will be global atmospheric "snapshots" in near-real time at heights up to 60 kilometers (38 miles) and ionospheric data up to 750 km (470 mi). The data will be used for weather prediction, global climate-change analysis and research, and space-weather monitoring.

The book includes a discussion of the application of the GPS radio occultation technique to meteorology and climate--including global change research. Also covered are the use of COSMIC for ionospheric sensing and space-weather forecasting, plus descriptions of two additional instruments joining COSMIC to monitor solar storms: the tiny ionospheric photometer and the tri-band beacon transmitter.

Lou-Chuang Lee is a professor in the Department of Physics, National Cheng Kung University, and director of the National Space Program Office, Taiwan. Robert Kursinski is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona. Christian Rocken is chief scientist for the COSMIC program at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Ordering the book: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA. Telephone: +1-212-460-1500; +1-800- 777-4643; fax: +1-201-348-4505; e-mail:; Web:

On the Web: COSMIC project home page

NCAR, whose primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation, is managed by UCAR, a consortium of 66 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.
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