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January 1999 / NOAA Report

3

In L.A. Speech, Baker Links Safety, Extreme Weather and Climate Change

I n an October address to the 86th annual congress of the National Safety Council in Los Angeles, NOAA Administrator D. James Baker stressed the connection between climate change and public safety, and how the work of NOAA scientists can help communities prepare for such potentially cataclys- mic weather disasters as flooding, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

“This El Niño event had major impacts on society worldwide, affecting everything from agriculture and fisheries, to water resource management, and human health and safety,” added Baker. “It was a clear reminder of how vulnerable society is to climate extremes.”

During 1998, the total cost of extreme events in the United States was close to $6 billion, Baker said.

“Seasonal climate changes such as El Niño or La Niña can pose real threats to life and safety,” said Baker. “As our scientific understanding and predic- tion capabilities improve, we will be better able to plan for and mitigate their impacts.

“For the first time ever, NOAA scientists were able to predict well in advance that an El Niño event would occur. With this advance information, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development were able to help communities take practical steps to prepare for associated severe weather events.

As regional temperatures and precipita- tion amounts change, the Nation has experienced “a noticeable increase in extreme one-day precipitation events…over the last century,” he added. “This pattern is consistent with what we would expect to see with global greenhouse warming.”

NOAA Administrator D. James Baker in a speech to the 86th annual congress of the National Safety Council in Los Angeles.

NOAA Report is a monthly publication for NOAA employees from the Office of Public & Constituent Affairs, Washington. Address comments to: Editor NOAA Report NOAA Public & Constituent Affairs 14th Street & Constitution Avenue NW Room 6013 HCHB Washington, DC 20230-0001 202-482-6090 (voice) 202-482-3154 (fax) E-Mail: jerry.slaff@noaa.gov NOAA Report Online: http:// www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/nr Tim Tomastik ..... Acting Director, Office of

Public & Constituent Affairs Jerry Slaff ....................................... Editor Jeanne Kouhestani ........ Associate Editor

lwen Huxley (right), a program analyst for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research in Silver Spring, Md., shared top honors Oct. 17 as women’s doubles champion in the Head of the Charles Regatta with Potomac Boat Club teammate Karin Hughes of Annapo- lis, Md, The annual regatta pits single and teams of rowers in tradi- Making Waves on the Charles O tional racing shells in a 3-mile race on Boston’s Charles River. This year’s regatta drew more than 5,400 rowers from around the world for nineteen different events. Huxley’s boat beat the runners up, the U.S. National Team, by nearly 25 seconds in the unrestricted women’s field to take the regatta’s overall women’s doubles championship.

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