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CENSOR — Result In Brief

Project ID: 511071
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Germany

Managing the El Nino effect

A joint European-American study aimed to improve the detection and understanding of the El Nino-La Nina effects on the coastal environment and the local economy. Project outcomes have the potential to improve the livelihood of human coastal populations.
Managing the El Nino effect
The El Nino (EN)-La Nina (LN) Southern Oscillation weather pattern on the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean directly influences marine biodiversity, regional ecology, economy and infrastructure. Both the warm EN and the cold LN currents alter ocean surface temperature and air pressure, affecting artisan fisheries, fish populations and thereby local communities.

Seeking to better understand the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the EU-funded Censor initiative joined European and American specialists under a multidisciplinary approach. The objective was to enhance the detection of EN and LN effects on the coastal zone and its resources, to mitigate the EN negative effects, while exploiting its beneficial impact on the livelihood of local populations.

EN was thoroughly studied paying particular attention to the underlying natural mechanisms. These studies provided local stakeholders with indicators of EN events that could be used in early warning and prediction systems for environmental quality control and sustainable development.

Project partners identified the demands placed by local communities on the ENSO coastal zones to create a balance between the exploitation of marine resources and the associated economic and socioeconomic requirements. This was facilitated through consultation of a database containing valuable information of the phenomenon and presentation of previous initiatives' results. Finally, an extensive modelling approach was implemented in order to identify key ecosystem drivers.

The Censor effort studied the ENSO effects on the local ecosystem and proposed strategies for better exploitation of natural resources and fishery management. Results have wide socioeconomic interest in the local communities.

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