Newsletter No.5 January-1999@

    Last year,the most recent El Nino phenomenon that began in 1997 and continued until May 1998,and the anomalous weather conditions accompanying at appeared again in various places around the world.After El Nino ended and La Nina started,there frequently occurred different kinds of anomalous weather.Among them,the unusual movement of the Baiu(Mei-yu)rain belt lying over China,Korea and Japan,and the record-making heavy rainfall caused by the convective systems in the rain belt,gave large damage to various parts of those countries.On the other hand,last summer was also exceptional for being late in typhoon-occurrences and for their small number.Such phenomena have been actively studied in recent years as "year-to-year changes of climate",and they are main targets of the research at FRSGC.Those climatic events as observed in the summer of 1998 shocked the climate research community where common knowledge of year to year variations of the summer climate in East Asia is still developing,creating a number of new riddles.

    Thus climate researchers are confronted with new difficult problems older ones have yet to be solved.But,in my view they are not so pessimistic.The reason is that we now have plenty of observational data.The 1997/98 El Nino is the first event observed for its entire life cycle by the subsurface buoy network (Triton buoys are now working on the western part of it.)and its initiation was clearly caught as a change of the under water temperature at the earliest stage. And often anomalous features of the 1998 summer climate are grasped by satellite observations of water vapor,clouds, precipitation,snow on land,sea surface temperature and so on,in addition to the data of subsurface water temperature observed by buoys.It is the very target of our research to investigate the processes that cause such variations in the climate system as observed in the last summer by using those obsevational data and also by conducting computational experiments by using climate models.Another important task for us is addressing the question of whether this frequent appearance of anomalous weather conditions is a manifestation of global warming or not.

    These are all difficult questions.But the more difficult they are,the more challenging and worthy for us to solve them. We will proceed with our researches to solve these puzzling problems with every effort.

Frontier Research System for Global Change
Director-General Dr.Taroh Matsuno

Appearances of the symposium of the FRSGC "Toward the Prediction of Atmospheric Composition change"(The details of the symposium are introduced on page10 of this Newsletter).

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