How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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1997-98 El Niņo Impacts for the United States
Changnon, S.A.  1999.  Impacts of 1997-98 El Niņo-generated weather in the United States.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 80: 1819-1827.

What was done
The author assessed the major impacts of weather events attributable to the El Niņo episode of 1997-98 on human lives and the economy of the United States.

What was learned
Impacts were discussed in terms of losses and benefits.  For the United States as a whole, losses included approximately 4.5 billion dollars in property, agriculture, industry, and governmental aid, as well as a total 189 lives.  Benefits included approximately 19.5 billion dollars resulting primarily from reduced energy costs, industry sales, and the lack of normal hurricane damage.  A total of 850 lives were estimated saved due to a lack of bad winter weather.  Regionally, there was a mix of winners and losers in terms of positive and negative impacts.

What it means
The net economic effect of the 1997-98 El Niņo event was "surprisingly positive," in contrast to what was often reported in the media, which "tends to focus only on the negative outcomes."  As this study shows, warmer weather tends to bring greater economic benefits to the United States as a whole, as well as save lives.

Reviewed 15 September 1999