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Southern AER

A Quarterly Activity Bulletin of The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources-Southeast Regional Climate Center
Spring 1998
Volume 4, No. 1


Southern AER to go on-line!

We've received many helpful comments on Southern AER since the first issue was published in the Fall of 1995. Our goal is to continue to produce the activity bulletin four times each year. However we now plan to produce the bulletin for distribution through the Internet only. If you or someone you know would like to continue receiving the bulletin through the mail, please let us know. We will continue mailing it to those who wish to receive it. Be on the lookout for future issues each year in the months of March/April, June/July, September/August, and December. The URL for Southern AER on the web is:

The answers to the activity questions will also be posted on-line. The URL for the answers is:
Contact person:
Education Outreach Coordinator
Southeast Regional Climate Center
1201 Main Street, Suite 1100
Columbia, SC 29201
phone: (803) 737-0800
fax: (803) 765-9080


El Nino's Impacts on the Southeast United States


El Nino has been in the spotlight of newspapers, magazines, and other news media for some time now. The effects of this climatological event have been noted on a global scale. On a local level the weather in the Southeast has been affected. This exercise is designed to provide information on the impacts El Nino has had on the southeastern United States.


A climate normal is defined as the thirty year average that occurred between 1961-1990.
Deviation from normal is defined as how far away - above or below - an amount of precipitation or the mean temperature is from normal. A negative number identifies below normal, a positive number identifies above normal, and zero identifies normal.


1. Define El Nino in your own words. You may wish to use books, articles, the Internet, etc. to obtain a clear understanding of El Nino. Be sure to include the years in which El Ninos have occurred in the past.

Conditions Observed During Past El Ninos
2. Based on the graph above, would you expect there to be normal, above, or below normal precipitation for the southeastern United States during the 1997-98 El Nino?

Using the following charts answer questions 3 - 5.

3. What is the approximate total actual rainfall for each city from November 1997 through March 1998?

4. What is the approximate total normal rainfall for each city from November 1997 through March 1998?

5. Is the actual rainfall above, below, or near normal for each city?

Use the following map to answer questions 6 & 7.

6. Was the rainfall for the period December 1997-March 1998 above, normal, or below normal for your area?

7. Which area probably received the greatest amount of rainfall during December 1997- March 1998?

8. Using all information you've encountered during this exercise, state what you've learned about El Nino.

9. What types of weather conditions in the southeastern United States would you expect during the next El Nino? What about other parts of the world?


TEACHERS Click here to send mail for answers to the activity questions.


Southern AER is a quarterly publication of the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Funding is provided by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To subscribe to this free publication, please contact Amanda E. Clarke, Editor, Southern AER, 1201 Main Street, Suite 1100, Columbia, SC 29201; telephone 803/737-0849; e-mail:

Permission is granted for the reproduction of materials contained in this bulletin.

Southern AER
Southeast Regional Climate Center
S.C. Department of Natural Resources
1201 Main Street, Suite 1100
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, disability, religion, or age. Direct all inquiries to the Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.