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THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF ENSO EVENTS: THE 1997-98 EL NINO AND THE 1998-99 LA NINA

By Richard M. Adams, Chi-Chung Chen, Bruce A. McCarl and Rodney Weiher

Abstract

Climate is the primary determinant of agricultural productivity. In many parts of the world, including the United States, one can trace much of the year-to-year variations in climate to the El Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon. In 1997-98 the world experienced a severe El event and this is being flowed by a strong 1998-99 La Nina. The work underlying this develops estimates of the economic consequences of these events on U.S. agriculture. Both phases result in economic damages -- a $1.5 to $1.7 billion loss for the El Nino and a $2.2 to $6.5 billion for La Nina. The major conclusion is that ENSO events do impose costs on agriculture and consumers.Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

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