Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Effective and Equitable Dissemination of Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate Forecasts: Policy Implications from the Peruvian Fishery during El Niño 1997–98


The development of seasonal-to-interannual climate predictions has spurred widespread claims that the dissemination of such forecasts will yield benefits for society. Based on the use as well as non-use of forecasts in the Peruvian fishery during the 1997–98 El Niño event, weidentify: (1) potential constraints on the realization of benefits, such aslimited access to and understanding of information, and unintended reactions; (2) theneed for an appropriately detailed definition of societal benefit, considering whose welfare counts as a benefit among groups such as labor, industry, consumers, citizens of different regions, and future generations.We argue that consideration of who benefits, and an understanding of potential socioeconomic constraints and how they might be addressed, should be brought to bear on forecast dissemination choices. We conclude with examples of relevant dissemination choices made using this process.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aceituno, P.: 1992, ‘El-Niño, The Southern Oscillation, and ENSO – Confusing Names for a Complex Ocean Atmosphere Interaction’ Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 73, 483–485.

  2. Agrawala, S. and Broad, K.: 2002, ‘Technology Transfer Perspectives on Climate Forecast Applications’ Research in Science and Technology Studies 13, 45–69.

  3. Agrawala, S., Broad, K., and Guston, D.: 2001, ‘Integrating Climate Forecasts and Societal Decision Making: Challenges to an Emergent Boundary Organization’ Science, Technology, and Human Values 26, 454–477.

  4. Anderson, D. L. T., Sarachik, E. S. et al.: 1998, ‘The TOGA Decade: Reviewing the Progress of El Niño Research and Prediction’ J. Geophys. Res. 103, 14167–14510.

  5. Arntz,W. E., Landa, A., and Tarazona, J.: 1985, ‘El Niño: Su Impacto en la Fauna Marina’ Bol. Inst. Mar., vol. ext., Perú-Callao, p. 222.

  6. Bakun, A.: 1996, Patterns in the Ocean: Ocean Processes and Marine Population Dynamics, California Sea Grant College System, p. 323.

  7. Baltazar, C. M.: 1979, Estado, Pesca y Burguesía: 1939–1973, Realidad y Teoría, Lima.

  8. Barber, R. T. and Chavez, F. P.: 1983, ‘Biological Consequences of El Niño’ Science 222, 1203–1210.

  9. Barnston, A. G., Glantz, M. H., and He, Y.: 1999, ‘Predictive Skill of Statistical and Dynamical Climate Models in Forecasts of SST during the 1997–1998 El Niño Episode and the 1988 La Niña Onset’ Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 80, 217–243.

  10. Barrett, C. B.: 1998, ‘The Value of Imperfect ENSO Forecast Information: Discussion’ Amer. J. Agric. Econ. 80, 1109–1112.

  11. Bjerknes, J.: 1966, ‘A Possible Response of the Atmospheric Hadley Circulation to Equatorial Anomalies of Ocean Temperature’ Tellus 8, 820–829.

  12. Broad, K. and Agrawala, S.: 2000, ‘The Ethiopia Famine: Uses and Limits of Seasonal Climate Forecasts’ Science 289, 1693–1694.

  13. Carr, M.-E. and Broad, K.: 2000, ‘Satellites, Society, and the Peruvian Fisheries during the 1997–1998 El Niño’ in Halpern, D. (ed.), Satellites, Oceanography and Society, Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, pp. 171–191.

  14. Carson, D. J.: 1998, ‘Seasonal Forecasting’ Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 124, 1–26.

  15. Castillo, J.: 1998, El peligro de El Niño no ha pasado, lo peor ocurrira en el próximo mes. La Republica. Lima: 3 (9 Jan).

  16. Chavez, F. P., Strutton, P. G., and McPhaden, M. J.: 1998, ‘Biological-Physical Coupling in the Central Equatorial Pacific during the Onset of the 1997–1998 El Niño’ Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 3543–3546.

  17. Deser, C. and Wallace, J. M.: 1987, ‘El Niño Events and their Relation to the Southern Oscillation: 1925–1986’ J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14189–14196.

  18. El Comercio: 1998, El Niño puede estar llegando a su fin. Lima, 8 Jan, p. 1.

  19. Glantz, M. H.: 1979, ‘Science, Politics, and Economics of the Peruvian Anchovy Fishery’ Marine Policy, July, 201–210.

  20. Glantz, M. H.: 1986, ‘Man, State, and Fisheries: An Inquiry into some Societal Constraints that Affect Fisheries Management’ Ocean Development and International Law 17, no. 1/2/3, 191–270.

  21. Glantz, M. H. (ed.): 1995, ‘Usable Science II: The Potential Use and Misuse of El Niño Information in North America’ A Workshop Report, Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, NCAR, Boulder, CO, 1994, p. 260.

  22. Glantz, M. H.: 1996 (2001), Currents of Change: El Niño's Impact on Climate and Society, Cambridge University Press, p. 194.

  23. Gestión: 1999, Producción pesquera cayó 50.8% en 1998. Lima, 10 January, p. 17.

  24. Hansen, J. W. (ed.): 2002, Special Issue on Applying Seasonal Climate Prediction to Agriculture. Agricultural Systems, in press.

  25. Hilton, R. W.: 1981, ‘The Determinants of Information Value: Synthesizing some General Results’ Management Science 27 (1), 57–64.

  26. Katz, R. W., Murphy, A. H., and Winkler, R. L.: 1982, ‘Assessing the Value of Frost Forecasts to Orchardists: A Dynamic Decision-Making Approach’ J. Appl. Meteorol. 21, 518.

  27. Katz, R. W. and Murphy, A.: 1997, Economic Value of Weather and Climate Forecasts, Cambridge University Press, p. 222.

  28. Kawasaki, T., Tanaka, S., Toba, Y., and Taiguchi: 1991, ‘Long-Term Variability of Pelagic Fish Populations and their Environment’ Proceedings of the International Symposium, Sendai/Japan, Pergamon Press, 14–18 November, p. 402.

  29. Lehodey, P., Bertignac, M., Hampton, J., Lewis, A., and Picaut, J.: 1997, ‘El Niño Southern Oscillation and Tuna in the Western Pacific’ Nature 389, 715–718.

  30. Lluch-Belda, D., Schwartzlose, R. A. et al.: 1992, ‘Sardine and Anchovy Regime Fluctuations of Abundance in Four Regions of theWorld Oceans: AWorkshop Report’ Fisheries Oceanography 1, 339–347.

  31. Masood, E.: 1997, ‘Fisheries Science: All at Sea when it Comes to Politics?’ Nature 386, 105–106.

  32. McPhaden, M. J.: 1999, ‘Genesis and Evolution of the 1997–1998 El Niño’ Science 283, 950.

  33. Mittaine, J. F. (ed.): 1998, Proc. from Fishmeal Exporters Organization Annual Conference, Puerto Rico, 16–17 November, Fishmeal Exporters Organization, p. 69.

  34. Mjelde, James W. and Keplinger, K.: 1998, ‘Using the Southern Oscillation to Forecast TexasWinter Wheat and Sorghum Crop Yields’ J. Climate 11, 54–60.

  35. Mjelde, J. W., Hill, Harvey S. J., and Griffiths, John F.: 1988, ‘A Review of Current Evidence on Climate Forecasts and their Economic Effects in Agriculture’ Amer. J. Agric. Econ. 80, 1089–1095.

  36. NOAA: 1994, El Niño and Climate Prediction. Reports to the Nation on our Changing Planet. Spring 1994, 1–24.

  37. Orlove, B. S. and Tosteson, J.: 1998, ‘The Application of Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts Based on El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Events: Lessons fromAustralia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Peru, and Zimbabwe’ WP 99-3, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1999.

  38. Parsons, T. R.: 1996, ‘Taking Stock of FisheriesManagement’ Fisheries Oceanography 5, 224–226.

  39. Pauly, D. and Christensen, V.: 1995, ‘Primary Production Required to Sustain Global Fisheries’ Nature 374, 255–257.

  40. Pfaff, A., Broad, K., and Glantz, M. H.: 1999, ‘Who Benefits from Climate Forecasts?’ Nature 397, 645–646.

  41. Philander, S. G.: 1990, El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation, Academic Press, New York, p. 293.

  42. Philander, S. G.: 1998, Who is El Niño? EOS Transactions 79, 13, 170.

  43. Pielke, R. A. Jr. and Glantz, M. H.: 1995, ‘Serving Science and Society: Lessons from Large-Scale Atmospheric Science Programs’ Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 76, 2445–2458.

  44. Pulwarty, R. S. and Redmond, K. T.: 1997, ‘Climate and Salmon Restoration in the Columbia River Basin: The Role and Usability of Seasonal Forecasts’ Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 78, 381–397.

  45. Rayner, S., Houk, M. et al.: 1999, Institutional Issues in Adoption of Probabilistic Climate Variation Among U.S. Water Managers. Society for Applied Anthropology 1999 Annual Meeting: Constructing Common Ground: Human and Environmental Imperatives, April 21–25, Tucson, AZ.

  46. Roncoli, C. (ed.): 2000, ‘Anthropology and Climate Change: Challenges and Contributions’ Practicing Anthropology 22 (4-special issue).

  47. Sarewitz, D., Pielke, R. A. Jr., and Byerly, R. Jr. (eds.): 2000, Prediction: Science, Decision Making, and the Future of Nature, Island Press, Washington, D.C.

  48. Sharp, G. D. and Csirke, J.: 1983, Proceedings of the Expert Consultation to Examine Changes in Abundance and Species Composition of Neritic Fish Resources, Food and Agriculture Administration, San Jose, Costa Rica.

  49. Sharp, G. D. and McLain, D. R.: 1993, ‘Fisheries, El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Upper-Ocean Temperature Records: An Eastern Pacific Example’ Oceanography 6, 13–22.

  50. Sarachik, E. S., Busalacchi, A. J. et al.: 1996, Learning to Predict Climate Variations Associated with the El Niño and the Southern Oscillation: Accomplishments and Legacies of the TOGA Program, National Academy Press, p. 171.

  51. Siekevitz, P.: 1972, The Social Responsibility of Scientists, New York Academy of Science, p. 112.

  52. Stern, P. C. and Easterling, W. E.: 1999, Making Climate Forecasts Matter, National Academy Press, p. 175.

  53. Thorp, R. and Bertram, G.: 1978, Peru 1890–1977: Growth and Policy in an Open Economy, Columbia University Press, p. 475.

  54. Trenberth, K. E.: 1997, ‘The Definition of El Niño’ Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. 78, 2771.

  55. Villanueva Chang, J.: 1998, ‘Chimbote es un mendigo con vista al mar’ El Comercio, 7 Sep A8.

  56. Walters, C. J.: 1989, ‘Value of Short-Term Forecasts of Recruitment for Harvest Management’ Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 46, 1969–1976.

  57. World Climate Research Programme: 1997, Climate Variability and Predictability: Initial Implementation Plan (DRAFT). International CLIVAR Project.

  58. World Meteorological Organization: 1998, Commission for Basic Systems. Extraordinary Session (ITEM 4.3): Global data processing system-infrastructure needs for Seasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction. Karlsruhe.

  59. Zapata Velasco, A. and Suiero, J. C.: 1998, Naturaleza y Politica: El Gobierno y El Fenomeno Del Niño en el Peru 1997–1998, Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, CooperAccion, p. 108.

  60. Zapata Velasco, A. and Broad, K.: 2001, ‘Peru Case Study: Impacts and Responses to the 1997– 1998 El Niño Event’ in Glanz, M. (ed.), Once Burned, Twice Shy? Lessons Learned from the 1997–1998 El Niño, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, p. 294.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Broad, K., Pfaff, A.S.P. & Glantz, M.H. Effective and Equitable Dissemination of Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate Forecasts: Policy Implications from the Peruvian Fishery during El Niño 1997–98. Climatic Change 54, 415–438 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016164706290

Download citation


  • Policy Implication
  • Climate Prediction
  • Climate Forecast
  • Detailed Definition
  • Societal Benefit