El Niño in the Twentieth Century

  • Richard Grove
  • George Adamson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


This chapter addresses El Niño’s impact in the twentieth century, a century for which descriptions are uniquely detailed. The El Niños in the twentieth century that are perhaps best known are 1982–1983 and 1997–1998, respectively the first event to attract global news coverage and the first to be correctly forecast. The El Niño of 1924–1925 is significant as the first to attract international scientific interest. Other El Niños were notable for associated mortality: the El Niño of 1941–1942 was responsible for the last major famine in the Indian subcontinent and the El Niño of 1972–1973 brought drought and famine to the Sahel. In general, though, the twentieth century was notable for a significant reduction in mortality due to meteorological extremes associated with El Niño.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Grove
    • 1
  • George Adamson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for World Environmental HistoryUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Department of GeographyKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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