Pat Shingleton: "El Nino-Limiting Growth"
The broad area of low pressure east of the Texas coast should become the second named storm of the season. Early analysis suggests that the Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm Bill, will be a rain maker from Texas to Missouri. For years the El Nino/La Nina experiments have determined the length and strength of a designated hurricane season. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University believe that El Nino may have dramatic impacts on childhood growth in affected areas. The scientists selected 2,095 children from a cluster of rural villages in Tumbes, Peru, that were born between 1991 and 2001.Weatherwise Magazine reports that those born before and after the 1997-1998 El Nino are smaller for their age than those born before the event. The '97-'98 El Nino was the most severe episode on record and in this section of Peru, damaged bridges and roads isolated numerous rural villages. These destructive storms prevented access to food, clean water and health-care. Destroyed crops and livestock limited food reserves and episodes of diarrhea increased due to warmer weather and wetter conditions. The researchers contend that limited access to nutrition and resources stunted growth and caused the "shorter-than-stature" development for the region's children. With the frequency of El Nino expected to increase with climate change, this study could assist in identifying future episodes. All of my columns are delivered to you via www.PatShingleton.com.